Uber Technologies announced Thursday that it has acquired self-driving trucks startup Otto and that the company has also established an alliance with Volvo Car Group to develop self-driving cars.
“Partnership is crucial to our self-driving strategy because Uber has no experience making cars,” Uber’s chief executive Travis Kalanick wrote in a blogpost, according to Reuters.
“To do it well is incredibly hard, as I realized on my first visit to a car manufacturing plant several years ago.”
Uber’s moves reflect its eagerness to advance self-driving technology. If its ambitions are realized, these vehicles could over time reduce its biggest cost, paying drivers.
The company will also be positioned to expand into the trucking industry.
Otto was founded earlier this year by former employees from Google, Apple, Tesla and others. The start-up aims to turn commercial trucks into self-driving freight haulers.
Uber will by the end of this month begin a pilot program in which trusted Uber customers will be able to use their phones to summon a self-driving car for use in downtown Pittsburgh, Reuters cited a source as saying.
It will be the first time members of the public will be able to use self-driving vehicles. A driver trained to handle the autonomous cars will be behind the wheel to step in if needed.
The Uber-Volvo partnership, meanwhile, will allow Uber to pool resources with the Sweden-based carmaker and initially develop autonomous driving capabilities of Volvo’s flagship XC90 SUV model.
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