Daimler AG, the maker of Mercedes-Benz, reached a deal with Uber Technologies in which Daimler’s self-driving vehicles will be included in Uber’s network in the next few years.
According to a report by Bloomberg, while the companies didn’t provide much details about how the arrangement will work, the deal did show that Uber is willing to open its ride-hailing business to technology offered by other companies.
Daimler had been making a big push into developing self-driving technology, and the deal could put it on the path to monetize self-driving cars once the technology is ready. Daimler spokesman Hendrik Sackmann told Bloomberg the agreement isn’t expected to include Daimler and Uber working together to develop technology for self-driving cars.
“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 Chief Executive Officer Travis Kalanick wrote in a blog post covered by Bloomberg. “This became very clear to me after I visited an auto manufacturing plant and saw how much effort goes into designing, testing and building cars.”
Bloomberg noted the companies are still in talks about some of the terms of the arrangement, but they do expect to see the day when a self-driving Mercedes-Benz picks up Uber customers. “As the inventor of the automobile, Daimler aims to be a leader in autonomous driving — one of the most fascinating aspects of reinventing mobility,” Dieter Zetsche, chairman of the board of management at Daimler and head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, said in a statement, reported Bloomberg. It’s not clear when the technology will be at the point where cars are picking up rides without drivers. Uber’s self-driving vehicle program today isn’t completely autonomous. The cars are supervised by two humans and, according to Bloomberg, require regular interventions by humans to prevent crashes.