2016-8-23 16:45


Uber will start testing the world’s first autonomous taxi fleet in the next few weeks, putting it ahead of Google and Ford in the race to bring self-driving car services to consumers.


The new fleet is part of a partnership between Uber and Volvo that will see the companies jointly invest $300m to develop a new self-driving vehicle.


Uber customers in Pittsburgh will soon be able to hail the first self-driving test vehicles, whichwill be Volvo XC90s, from their smartphones. Drivers will remain behind the wheel during the pilot, which will be free for passengers.


At the same time, Uber announced it had bought Otto, a maker of self-driving technology for trucks, its largest acquisition to date.


Uber has been investing heavily in driverless technologies, which chief executive Travis Kalanickbelieves will be a cornerstone of future city transportation networks. “Uber’s mission— to provide transportation as reliable as running water, everywhere for everyone — is not possible without moving into this kind of technology,“ Mr Kalanick told the Financial Times.

优步一直在大力投资无人驾驶技术,其首席执行官特拉维斯•卡兰尼克(Travis Kalanick)认为,这种技术将成为未来城市交通网络的基石。“不上马这种技术,优步就不可能实现自己的使命——在每个地方为每个人提供像自来水一样可靠的交通服务,“卡兰尼克告诉英国《金融时报》。

The tie-up with Volvo underscores how the advent of self-driving cars is rapidly changing the industry, forcing tech start-ups and traditional carmakers to decide whether to work togetheror compete. The decision of Uber to pick Volvo as its development partner is a coup for the Swedish carmaker best known for its focus on safety.


“We see this as the first step in a long-term industrial partnership,“ Hakan Samuelsson, Volvochief executive, told the Financial Times. He added that smart maps may be another area of future co-operation between the two companies.

“我们把这看成一段长期行业伙伴关系的第一步,“沃尔沃首席执行官霍坎•萨穆埃尔松(Hakan Samuelsson)告诉英国《金融时报》。他补充到,智能地图可能是两家公司未来合作的另一个领域。

The acquisition of Otto will heighten Uber’s driverless competition with Google ownerAlphabet, at a time when Google’s own head of driverless technology has recently left. Otto wasfounded by several prominent ex-Alphabet employees including Anthony Levandowski.


Uber’s effort to develop driverless cars began last year, when it poached dozens of researchersfrom the robotics department of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, and set up its ownresearch centre in the city.

优步开发无人驾驶汽车的努力始于去年。当时,它从位于匹兹堡的卡内基梅隆大学(Carnegie MellonUniversity)的机器人系挖走了数十名研究人员,并在该市成立了自己的研究中心。

Otto’s investors will receive an equity stake in Uber of slightly less than 1 per cent, as well as20 per cent of profits from Uber’s future trucking business.


The deal also marks Uber’s first foray into long-haul trucking.


One component of Uber’s driverless car research is developing its own maps and mapping software, and the company is prepared to spend half a billion dollars on mapping efforts around the world. Uber already has mapping vehicles gathering images and data on roads in the US and Mexico.


The founders of Otto said in a blog post that they were combining with Uber to “build the backbone of the rapidly-approaching self-driving freight system“. The company has been testing an “interstate autopilot“ system that allows drivers to snooze in their cabs.


Mr Samuelsson said the partnership would reduce its development costs by half, and boost volumes through the sale of cars to Uber.