Uber’s next round of self-driving cars won’t be owned by Uber at all and the cars could be Mercedes.
Daimler, the German automaker behind the Mercedes-Benz, will manufacture autonomous cars meant for Uber and and operate them through the ride-hailing company, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick announced in a blog post Tuesday.
“We can combine Ubers global ridesharing network with the world-class vehicles of companies like Daimler, so that Uber riders can have a great experience getting around their cities,” Kalanick wrote.
The partnership is part of Uber’s strategy to run a network of self-driving cars, but not build them itself. The ride-hailing company already operates the world’s largest fleet of human-driven cars while owning only a fraction of them.
“Auto manufacturers like Daimler are crucial to our strategy because Uber has no experience making carsand in fact, making cars is really hard,” Kalanick wrote.
Uber already has self-driving cars on the streets of Pittsburgh, and the company ended a test program in San Francisco after drawing the ire of California regulators. The autonomous cars first intended for California are instead moving to Arizona.
Those self-driving cars were all Volvo XC90 SUVs through a partnership between the two companies. In that agreement, however, Uber purchased the autonomous cars from Volvo. Daimler will instead be entirely responsible for its self-driving vehicles in Uber’s fleet.
“By opening up the Uber platform to Daimler, we can get to the future faster than going it alone,” Kalanick wrote.