Swedish carmaker Volvo has agreed to supply Uber with vehicles for use in the company’s planned autonomous car ride-hailing service.
According to Volvo’s Nov. 20 announcement, the car company will sell tens of thousands of autonomous driving compatible base vehicles to Uber from 2019 to 2021.
While there will not be a specific number of vehicles ordered, Uber has indicated they will purchase somewhere in the range of 24,000 of Volvo’s XC90 SUVs to develop their autonomous vehicles. The two companies have been working together in tests in Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Phoenix for the last few years.
The Volvo announcement said the agreement is non-exclusive, meaning that both Uber and Volvo could find other partners with whom to work in similar applications. According to a Volvo spokesperson, Volvo will use the same base cars for the development of its own autonomous car strategy, with the first fully autonomous car from Volvo expected to be released in 2021.
Volvo and Uber have already built and completed more than 200 if the first-generation autonomous vehicles that have been used in testing. The development of second-generation vehicles will lead directly to the vehicles that Uber has agreed to buy from Volvo. Perhaps more importantly, the Uber Volvos will lead directly to mass production of autonomous cars that can be used for more than just Uber’s ride-hailing business.