Uber signs $300M deal with Volvo; acquires startup Otto

Uber signs $300M deal with Volvo; acquires startup Otto

In a move which will potentially enable Uber to advance its ambitions of building self-driving cars for its ride-hailing service, the company announced on Thursday that it has inked a $300 million deal with automaker Volvo, and has also acquired a startup called Otto which develops self-driving technology for big-rig trucks.

The deal with Volvo and the acquisition of Otto are the two latest indications of Uber's apparent ambitions for self-driving vehicles, for providing ride-hailing services to consumers as well as businesses.

In announcing its deal with Volvo on Thursday, Uber also said that, in a few weeks, it will commence the testing of self-driving cars in Pittsburgh. The cars will give Uber users the ability to hail modified versions of Volvo XC90 sport utility vehicles (SUVs) to go around the city.

Uber's imminent move to test its modified Volvo SUVs on Pittsburg streets will mark the first, fledgling effort aimed at commercializing self-driving vehicles which do not require a human driver to steer them.

Meanwhile, with regard to its acquisition of Otto, Uber said that the move will enable it to bolster its own in-house expertise in self-driving technology. Uber further added that Otto will operate as a stand-alone company - from a new
180,000-square-foot facility in Palo Alto, California - and will largely focus on toppling the long-distance trucking industry.

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