Just for a memory refresher, the ride-sharing firm, Uber, is known for connecting passengers with people who have their own cars. This means the company doesn’t own a fleet of vehicles for would-be drivers to use. This fact does make the company’s move of obtaining 100,000 Mercedes-Benz S-Classes from Daimler all the more fascinating.
Other than that, there is another catch to the whole story, as Germany’s Manager Magazin, which broke the story earlier today, was quick to point out one crucial similarity between the two companies that is they are both investing heavily in making autonomous cars a reality.
This does look real as Uber had almost raided the Carnegie Mellon University last year in search of its brightest software engineers. The recruitment may look a bit odd, however, CMU’s National Robotics Engineering Center definitely has the required technical skills that are needed to help make cars that can “see” and steer him or herself possible. With all that out of the way, the company landed up with roughly 40 researchers that were once part of a partnership with the company and the school.
Talking of Mercedes, it has been into the development of autonomous driving technology and getting it into the street-ready cars as well. The premium S-Class has been able to park, maintain safe distances from other cars in tight, stop-and-go traffic without the aid of a driver. This makes the possibility of Uber’s technical team making the system more intelligent on the recently acquired S-class cars. However, to make this feasible, the company will have to take access from the car maker, which we believe is something that Mercedes will shy away from.
The amount of cars that Uber bought is definitely indicative of the suggested addition. The company got each car for $80,000, which is a solid deal given that the particular model is available for $95,000 in the market.