Uber just bought thousands of driverless cars from Volvo

Lynsey Barber
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Uber and Volvo are stepping on it with its latest deal (Source: Uber)

Uber has snapped up thousands of driverless cars from Volvo in the latest demonstration that the technology is taking off.

The deal will see the traditional car brand supply 24,000 vehicles that can support autonomous technology to Uber over three years starting from 2019.

It builds on an original $300m deal signed between the two last year.

Read more: Millions promised for driverless cars, AI and 5G in Budget

“The automotive industry is being disrupted by technology and Volvo Cars chooses to be an active part of that disruption,” said Volvo's president and chief executive Hakan Samuelsson.

“Our aim is to be the supplier of choice for AD [autonomous driving] ride-sharing service providers globally. Today’s agreement with Uber is a primary example of that strategic direction.”

Volvo will continue to develop its own driverless technology too.

Uber head of auto alliances Jeff Miller said: “This new agreement puts us on a path towards mass produced self-driving vehicles at scale.”

It comes as the UK government ups its efforts to get traction for the technology in the UK. The chancellor Philip Hammond will promise to get the cars without human drivers on the country's roads by 2021 in Wednesdays' Autumn Budget.

Read more: Dyson's electric car will have driverless elements

Millions in funding has already been handed to several groups of UK businesses pioneering the technology at a handful of hubs across the country.

Trials of the autonomous vehicles have already taken place in Oxford, led by the Driven consortium, while Jaguar Land Rover's efforts took to the roads last week in Coventry.

And James Dyson has said that his electric car will have driverless elements in it.

Uber's driverless car testing started in the US city of Pittsburgh last year, one of several high-profile tech names putting the technology through its paces. Google has been perfecting the technology for the longest - around eight years - and earlier this month revealed that it plans to put the cars on the road without a human driver for the first time.

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