Uber, the global ride sharing giant, has entered into an agreement with carmaker Volvo to purchase 24,000 of its XC90 SUVs between 2019 and 2021 to form a fleet of autonomous vehicles. The XC90 is the base of Uber’s latest-generation self-driving test car, which features sensors and autonomous driving computing capability installed by Uber after purchase on the XC90 vehicle.
With the XC90’s starting price at $47k, the deal is expected to be around ~$1.4 billion. The company is already testing the XC90 in Arizona, San Francisco and Pittsburgh in trials with safety drivers on board to help refine and improve their software. Uber also paired up with Volvo to jointly develop autonomous driving and a vehicle ready for self-driving implementation, with investment from both sides committed last year. The primary reason behind Uber’s big push in driverless technology is its rival Waymo, Alphabet’s autonomous vehicle unit, which recently announced plans to launch its own self-driving ride hailing service open to consumers soon. However, no timeline has been given from either company for when everyday users might be able to access the services in a non-testing capacity.