Uber To Buy Up To 24K Autonomous Vehicles From Volvo

Volvo, the vehicle manufacturer, announced Monday (Nov. 20) that it inked a deal with Uber, the ride-hailing app company, to sell it tens of thousands of self-driving compatible vehicles from 2019 through 2021.

In a press release, Volvo said the vehicles are currently being developed in-house on the company’s Scalable Product Architecture (SPA), which is used to create its high-end line of 90 series vehicles and its new XC60 mid-size SUV. This deal, which isn’t exclusive, is an expansion of Volvo and Uber’s existing partnership.

“The automotive industry is being disrupted by technology, and Volvo Cars choose to be an active part of that disruption,” said Håkan Samuelsson, president and chief executive of Volvo. “Our aim is to be the supplier of choice for AD ride-sharing service providers globally. Today’s agreement with Uber is a primary example of that strategic direction.”

According to Volvo, the car maker’s engineers and Uber engineers have been working closely together to develop the XC90 SUVs that will be supplied to Uber. The base vehicles will include all of the necessary safety, redundancy and core autonomous driving technologies that are required for Uber to add its own self-driving technology. Volvo also said it will use the same base vehicle in the development of its own independent autonomous car strategy, with the first vehicle slated to launch in 2021.

“We’re thrilled to expand our partnership with Volvo,” said Jeff Miller, head of auto alliances for Uber. “This new agreement puts us on a path toward mass-produced, self-driving vehicles at scale.”

This isn’t the only move Volvo is making to remain relevant in the ever-changing automobile industry. In the summer, it inked a partnership with Flywire to make it easier for international students to purchase and finance new cars. The program, which was announced in early August, enables students to pay the lease upfront with a single payment instead of paying monthly over the term of the lease.