Uber’s deal with Daimler, however, is a big departure from the ride-hail company’s relationship with Volvo. For one, Uber won’t own any Daimler cars. Instead, Daimler will develop and produce the self-driving cars on its own and use Uber’s platform to get it into the hands of consumers.
For Uber’s deal with Volvo, on the other hand, the company simply bought 100 Volvo XC90s and outfitted them with its own autonomous technology.
This is the first step in Uber’s evolution to an open platform for a number of automakers’ self-driving cars.
Daimler will essentially be a fleet operator on Uber’s platform. Today, fleet operators, or owners of a number of vehicles, can register their cars on Uber and rent those cars to willing drivers. The fleet operators then take a cut of the driver’s cut. In this case, Daimler will own the cars, and eventually there won’t be any driver.
Uber wouldn’t go into detail about the financial logistics of the partnership, but indicated it would be mutually beneficial for both companies. One possibility is for Uber to use today’s model of taking a 20 percent to 30 percent cut of each fare.
We don’t yet know when the cars will be available for Uber riders — that all depends on Daimler’s production schedule. We also don’t know if the cars will be fully or semi-autonomous.
The company plans to continue exploring both types of partnerships with additional automakers — though the Volvo version requires Uber to put the cost of purchasing vehicles and outfitting them with self-driving technology on its balance sheet.
This is developing …