Volvo and Uber are collaborating on a fully self-driving vehicle that should be in ride-sharing company's Pittsburgh fleet by the end of the year.
It's an announcement that blows Ford's claim, earlier this week, that it would launch an autonomous urban vehicle by 2021. Boy, that escalated quickly.
Uber and Volvo have signed an agreement wherein both companies will share a $300 million investment in fully autonomous vehicle development. The fruit of this effort will be built on Volvo's SPA chassis, currently used for the, and V90. Volvo will build the cars, and Uber will add its own autonomous driving systems to it.
Uber told Bloomberg that these vehicles should enter its Pittsburgh fleet as early as the end of August. In an effort to sweeten the deal, or perhaps just to assuage Luddites, when an autonomous vehicle shows up at your door, the ride will be free. The cars will be sent out at random, so you can't specifically request self-driving cars for the free ride, you mooch.
While there is a partnership, there's still a clear separation between the two companies' efforts. Even though Volvo will give some of these vehicles to Uber, it intends to build its own autonomous systems in-house, as well. Uber will also continue its partnerships with other companies, including Ford and Toyota.