The on-demand crowdsourced taxi service Uber has announced that it will partner with the German automotive giant Daimler (fittingly, I guess, considering the name) on the deployment of self-driving vehicle tech.
The idea of the partnership is apparently for Uber to deploy self-driving technology manufactured by Daimler amongst its fleet.
“Auto manufacturers like Daimler are crucial to our strategy because Uber has no experience making cars—and in fact, making cars is really hard. 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,” stated Uber CEO Travis Kalanick in recent press release.
“That’s why instead of building them ourselves, we want to partner with the best auto manufacturers in the world. We can combine Uber’s global ridesharing network with the world-class vehicles of companies like Daimler, so that Uber riders can have a great experience getting around their cities.”
The Verge provides more: “This partnership is different from the Uber has with Volvo, in which the ride-hailing company and the Swedish automaker collaborated together on retrofitting a fleet of XC90 SUVs with Uber’s autonomous technology. These self-driving cars, most likely Mercedes-Benz sedans, will be owned and operated by Daimler, but used to pick up and drop off passengers on Uber’s network.”
If all of this is sounding familiar right now, it’s because rumors of an Uber/Daimler partnership first started surfacing early last year, when a German publication claimed that Uber had agreed to purchase 100,000 Mercedes S-Class sedans. This rumor was never verified, but there was apparently at least some truth to it.
Kalanick highlighted in his press release, however, that he and Dieter Zetsche debated the future of transportation later in 2016 but seemingly before becoming partners. “I’ve been personally impressed with Daimler—whose company mantra is ‘The Best or Nothing’—and with the leadership of Dieter Zetsche, who had a friendly debate with me about the future of mobility and the auto industry last year in Berlin. Dieter said then that Daimler and Uber could be “frenemies”—in fact, we turned out to be great partners.”
Notably, though, the recent new release from Kalanick revealed that the company would be partnering with other auto manufacturers moving forward as well, not just Daimler and Volvo.
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