The two companies are joining forces to develop autonomous vehicle technology together and to eventually put self-driving Mercedes-Benzes on the Uber ridesharing network.
In terms of established automotive brands, Daimler, Mercedes-Benz’s parent company is already at the forefront of autonomous driving technology. So much so that it builds the first series production car — the Mercedes E-Class — that qualifies for an autonomous driving test licence in the state of Nevada.
However, the rate at which changes are taking place means that the company will need to forge alliances and partnerships if it intends to stay ahead of the pack and to navigate the move from being solely a car manufacturer and into the realms of mobility services.
“As the inventor of the automobile, Daimler aims to be a leader in autonomous driving — one of the most fascinating aspects of reinventing mobility,” said Daimler chariman Dieter Zetsche. “Mobility service providers offer an ideal platform for autonomous driving technology and Uber is a leading mobility platform company.”
As well as having a mature digital ride-sharing platform that crosses continents, Uber has very quickly developed its own in-house engineering division dedicated to the advancement of self-driving vehicle technology, making the company a perfect potential partner for Mercedes.
“Self-driving technology holds the promise of creating cities that are safer, cleaner and more accessible,” said Uber CEO, Travis Kalanick. “But we can’t get to that future alone. That’s why we’re opening up the Uber platform to auto manufacturers like Daimler.”