Uber Allegedly Agrees to Buy 100,000 Autonomous Mercedes-Benz S-Class Vehicles

Uber is having some problems with its drivers lately, who are complaining about not being in control of the fare charges and some other issues they're having with the ride sharing giant.
Mercedes-Benz S600 1 photo
Photo: Mercedes-Benz
They might not be aware of it right now, but these drivers have much bigger problems looming: the advent of the autonomous cars will almost instantly spell the end of the old and honorable trade of taxi driving. As much as they hate each other, Uber drivers and regular taxi drivers are going to find themselves in the same boat, made redundant by a bunch of wires and some silicone chips.

Uber has reportedly taken the first step in that direction by agreeing a deal with Daimler for a large fleet of autonomous vehicles. If the story turns out to be true, this could have much richer implications than the simple financial value of the trade (which, at over €10 billion - $11.2 billion - is hard to be neglected).

German publication manager magazin claims that the two parties have shaken hands over a transaction involving 100,000 autonomous S-Class limousines that the Stuttgart company is to deliver to the American giant. However, given the current situation, it is believed that the actual deal isn't going to take place sooner than 2020.

But 2020 is only four years away, so does that mean that the two companies know something the rest of us don't? We're well aware that Mercedes-Benz - like most of the other companies involved in the self-driving car race - possesses the technology to build autonomous cars, but the unresolved legal issues keep it from releasing a model that can openly claim to drive by itself.

The recent E-Class makes a very good impression of such a vehicle, and the S-Class - soon to be facelifted - will probably add to that. Still, for Uber - a company that doesn't directly employ drivers and doesn't own vehicles - to buy such a huge fleet is a very big deal, and could only point towards the cars being used in autonomous mode. Which means that either Uber is way too anxious about it and is willing to throw $11.2 billion away, or we'll actually be seeing driverless cars on the roads in just four years' time. We'd hate to have to bet on either.
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About the author: Vlad Mitrache
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"Boy meets car, boy loves car, boy gets journalism degree and starts job writing and editing at a car magazine" - 5/5. (Vlad Mitrache if he was a movie)
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