As countries around the world plan for the arrival of self-driving cars, carmaker Daimler has announced a partnership with Uber to bring more autonomous cars onto the roads by operating self-driving Mercedes-Benz vehicles on Uber’s network.
The two companies have signed an agreement signalling their intention for Mercedes-Benz parent company Daimler to introduce the self-driving vehicles “in the coming years”, according to a statement.
Daimler is the first carmaker to partner with Uber as the mobility-on-demand company opens up its ridesharing platform to manufacturers’ own self-driving cars.
“Self-driving technology holds the promise of creating cities that are safer, cleaner and more accessible,” said Travis Kalanick, CEO and Co-Founder of Uber. “But we can’t get to that future alone.”
“That’s why we’re opening up the Uber platform to auto manufacturers like Daimler. By combining Daimler’s and Uber’s technological strengths, more people can get access to reliable transportation at the push of a button.”
Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, said: “As the inventor of the automobile, Daimler aims to be a leader in autonomous driving – one of the most fascinating aspects of reinventing mobility.
“Mobility service providers offer an ideal platform for autonomous driving technology and Uber is a leading mobility platform company.
“The real revolution in future mobility lies in intelligently linking the four major trends we call CASE: connectivity, autonomous driving, sharing and electric mobility. And we will certainly be the driver of these changes.”
Daimler is already investing in self-driving vehicle technologies. Its new Mercedes-Benz E-Class was the world’s first series-production vehicle awarded an autonomous driving test licence in the US state of Nevada, while Daimler Trucks is the world’s first truck manufacturer with plans to develop an autonomous driving system – its Highway Pilot system – to be used in commercial vehicles.
Uber is exploring driverless technologies through its Advanced Technology Group – a group of engineers testing self-driving vehicles on US roads.
The firm was recently at the centre of a dispute with regulators in California over its decision to start testing its self-driving Volvo cars on the streets of San Francisco without a necessary permit.
The company’s Otto division is also working on developing self-driving trucks. In November, Otto partnered with brewer Anheuser-Busch to complete the first self-driving commercial delivery of a fully-loaded trailer of Budweiser across Colorado.