Uber reaches a deal with another automaker in a continued effort to build a fleet of self-driving vehicles for its service. The popular ride-hailing company today announced it has secured a partnership with Mercedes-Benz and plans to incorporate the German automaker’s autonomous vehicles into their prospective self-driving transportation network.
There is no exclusivity in this deal, Mercedes can supply autonomous vehicles to Uber’s competitors and Uber can use vehicles from other automakers as the company opens up its platform for manufacturers to introduce their own self-driving cars. A timeline has yet to be announced.
Such alliances are starting to become commonplace due to the fact that Silicon Valley firms do not have the capability to produce their own autonomous vehicles. “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 CEO Travis Kalanick said in a statement.
However, in this deal, Uber is simply opening up its fleet to include Daimler models; it will not manage vehicles or assist Benz with its development of self-driving technology.
This is not the first automotive manufacturer that has partnered with Uber. Last year the San Francisco-based company reached an agreement with Volvo to test its self-driving technology on a fleet of XC90s in Pittsburg and Arizona. Ford Fusion Hybrid models fitted with Uber autonomous gear have been testing on the streets of Pittsburg as well. Fiat Chrysler has also been in talks with Uber, but those discussions are still in the early stages.