Uber is taking yet another step towards the self-driving future with the announcement of a new partnership with automaker Daimler.
Daimler, which counts Mercedes-Benz, Smart and Maybach among its brands, will introduce and operate its own self-driving cars on Uber’s network, says the ride-hailing company in a blog post from CEO Travis Kalanick.
“Auto manufacturers like Daimler are crucial to our strategy because Uber has no experience making cars—and in fact, making cars is really hard,” writes Kalanick. “This became very clear to me after I visited an auto manufacturing plant and saw how much effort goes into designing, testing and building cars.”
Uber is currently running two self-driving pilot programs in Pennsylvania and Arizona through a $300 million USD partnership with Volvo. While in that partnership the self-driving technology equipped in the Volvos was created by Uber, the partnership with Daimler will not require the ride-hailing company to contribute towards the development of the vehicles. Instead, the network will merely play host to these new self-driving vehicles.
Uber did not detail when the vehicles are expected to roll-out, or the financial terms of the deal.
In addition to its car brands, Daimler runs Car2go, a one-way carsharing service. On January 30th, Car2go announced that it would be rolling out Mercedes-Benz vehicles across its North American fleet in 2017 that would take over from its current fleet of predominantly SmartCars. There is no indication yet of whether Car2go also plans to debut autonomous vehicles in the future.