Uber Technologies Incorporated is accelerating on the road to the world’s first fleet of autonomous vehicles. Uber has just signed a deal with Mercedes-Benz, as the luxury car maker is prepared to build self-driving cars for the service.
Daimler is the first company to join Uber’s plan to pave the way for the company’s own autonomous vehicles. Unable to build cars itself, the San Francisco-based corporation is relying on car makers to reach their target of gradually replacing human drivers with cars with “brains”.
“Auto manufacturers like Daimler are crucial to our strategy because Uber has no experience making cars — and in fact, making cars is really hard,” Uber CEO Travis Kalanick said. Uber will – by no means – own nor manage the Daimler cars and will not get involved in the research and development process of the autonomous technology. There is no exclusivity in the deal, as Mercedes can supply the autonomous vehicles to Uber’s competitors, while Uber can use cars built by other manufacturers. Volvo XC90 and Ford Fusion Hybrid, fitted with autonomous technology developed by Uber, are already part of the fleet.
“As the inventor of the automobile, Daimler aims to be a leader in autonomous driving — one of the most fascinating aspects of reinventing mobility,” said Dieter Zetsche, who once named Kalanick a “frenemy”, standing for both “friend” and “enemy”.
The alliance of the leading mobility platform company and the best-selling car manufacturer of 2016 is a proof that the three-pointed star company no longer considers the Silicon Valley companies a threat to the automotive industry.