|Uber’s transition to driverless cars -credit via: Uber|
It’s evident that Uber’s efforts to retain the position of being the top ride-hailing company in the world remains unchallenged. Even so -to fasten their grip on the market farther, Uber is planning to purchase over 24,000 sport utility cars from Volvo to foam a new fleet of autonomous vehicles. Well, this is not the first time the company is reporting service upgrade -they are ever evolving.
Just the other day, Uber Technologies Inc. launched the Uber Eat and Rate App that allows users to locate joints use their services and rate, to enhance customer satisfaction. After that, it again rolled out the glowing windshields and location sharing features to help locate their cars in crowded areas like airports and events.
Uber’s new focus
Now, the company seems to think deep around replacing its fleet with driverless cars. Does this mean the cost of keeping drivers has become unbearable? Well, maybe – because so far the company employees over 2 million people – these are drivers only without mentioning other staffs in the management level, which when you compare with the rate at which a taxi driver is paid currently in the U.S that’s a lot of money going out of this company.
However, the salaries paid to drivers may not really be the reason for transitioning to driver-less cars. Other aspects of boosting road safety and avoiding human mistakes could be the reason for migration. Research shows that over 45,000 fatalities occur due to drunken driving and other silly -yet avoidable errors from human-drivers. Maybe that is what the company is basing its decisions on.
Uber’s growing interest for self-driving cars
At some point last year, Uber accepted to use 100 XC90s for autonomous car driving tests around Pittsburgh. After that, it again agreed to incorporate self-driving Mercedes-Benz from Daimler AG in its network. But unfortunately, a lawsuit was filed against Uber, by Alphabet Inc. The lawsuit claimed that Uber stole trade secrets from Waymo -thus putting the planned test project on pause.
Despite that hiccup, something else has cooked up. Uber now plans to buy 24,000 cars fitted with autonomous tech. This came as a clear sign showing the company is still committed to the driverless idea -despite being under the new management of Dara Khosrowshahi’s leadership, the recently appointed Chief Executive Officer.
XC90s is the model to focus on
In this arrangement, the company still prefers the XC90s which could cost a whopping $45, 900 each. Nonetheless, production is yet to begin, that is according to Volvo but it has assured that by 2021 the total requested number of cars will be ready for delivery.
Ideally, the Volvo team will be tasked in making the car and all the hardware that should support pilot-less driving -then handover the cars to Uber’s San Francisco team which will be responsible at adding sensors and software that permit their customized autonomous driving.
Well, nothing specific, it’s a scenario of the potential seller and willing buyer -a deal that would still have stood if Uber approached SpaceX, a company that also makes autonomous cars. Nonetheless, the marriage between Volvo and Uber has its history from afar -and in this case, the automaker seems to be the greatest beneficiary.
Volvo engineers had this in mind and with Uber’s financial boost, the two companies hope to come up with a core driverless technology that will allow augmentations that fit their specific needs.
In summary, there are lots of factors that seem to catalyze the migration of Uber from human-driven cars to autonomous vehicles, not to mention the obvious reason -which is, simply the need to keep up with the rhythm of tech advancement.