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Driverless Deal Struck Between Volvo and Uber

While flying cars are still an unforeseeable aspect of our tech-based future, driverless cars could be on the road in as little as two years’ time. On Monday, Volvo Cars and Uber Technologies Inc. struck a deal in which Volvo would supply Uber with as many as 24,000 self-driving Volvo XC90 SUVs between 2019 and 2021. This agreement is said to be worth $1.4 billion and would account for 4.5 percent of Volvo’s current total sales.

Volvo and Uber have long been working together in their attempts to develop driverless cars, but faced a complication during pilot tests earlier this year. An accident in Tempe, Arizona, resulted in the self-driving car being flipped on its side after a collision with another vehicle. Police have announced that the accident was caused by the driver of the other car and not the driverless one; however, the incident nonetheless resulted in a temporary pause in production.

   
  
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    A self-driving Volvo XC90. (Photo: Uber)

A self-driving Volvo XC90. (Photo: Uber)

Uber has not had the smoothest year - sued by competitor Waymo and forced to fire its autonomous vehicle tech chief Anthony Levandowski, Uber has had its fair share of speed bumps this year. Despite these problems, the company has also managed to expand its partnerships this year in its efforts to add self-driving cars to its network.

Driverless cars have been a topic of discussion for a while now, and other car makers have agreed to smaller and less specific deals in the production of autonomous cars. Automobile companies such as Ford, Tesla, and General Motors as well as technology titans like Google, Uber, and Lyft are all looking for ways to lead the industry into the self-driving future.

   
  
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    Driverless cars could potentially have high-tech, living room-esque interiors. (Photo: Morgan Anderson - Yanfeng)

Driverless cars could potentially have high-tech, living room-esque interiors. (Photo: Morgan Anderson - Yanfeng)

Ford and General Motors have spent billions of dollars purchasing software-based startup companies in their attempts to incorporate driverless technology into their cars. Tesla has long offered partially self-driving software in its vehicles, and recently announced an electric, nearly autonomous semi-truck that it hopes to release to the public within the next few years.

However, Volvo and Uber’s discussion on Monday delivered one of the most concrete deals between two prominent participants in the automobile industry. The specified starting date of 2019 is also one of the first set-in-stone deadlines of the release of a working driverless car.