The non-exclusive deal is one of the largest commercial orders for self-driving cars yet, building on a $300 million partnership Uber and Volvo struck in August 2016. Volvo engineers have been working closely with Uber to develop a base vehicle with core driverless technology that the ride-hailing company can then augment. The XC90s, which start at $45,750, will be delivered between 2019 and 2021. The Volvo XC90 is already the base of Uber's current self-driving test auto.
She said the new agreement puts Uber on the path toward rolling out mass-produced autonomous cars at scale.
This latest news follows a 2016 agreement between the two companies, which saw Uber adding its own self-driving systems to a Volvo base vehicle.
Anthony Levandowski, who used to work for Waymo, left the company in January 2016 to found self-driving start-up Otto, which Uber swiftly purchased in July a year ago for $700m (£558m).
Uber just bought a shedload of self-driving Volvo XC90s
Volvo Cars Chief Executive Hakan Samuelsson said, "We believe this is a new segment, a new business". "Our aim is to be the supplier of choice for [autonomous driving] ride-sharing service providers globally".
Volvo, which is on track for a fourth consecutive year of record sales, appears very pleased with the deal which helps pad their reputation in the world of automation, as well as their wallets. The company now plans for the release of its first fully autonomous auto to take place in 2021.
Uber first tested its driverless taxi service in Pittsburgh, and it also tests cars in Arizona. The initiative has faced questions since Alphabet Inc.'s driverless vehicle division Waymo sued Uber this year, claiming the ride-hailing company stole trade secrets, and since the U.S. Justice Department opened an inquiry into the matter. Uber's $70 billion valuation already puts the group nearly on a par with Germany's Daimler.
Uber would not share financial information about the project, and Volvo did not immediately respond to a request for further comment.
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