Mercedes-Benz Parent Company to Operate Self Driving Cars with Uber

Despite the #deleteuber backlash occurring on social media this week, Uber continues business as usual with its announcement today that it has partnered with German automaker Daimler.

Daimler, the parent company of Mercedes-Benz (which announced its own partnership with car2go just yesterday), plans to introduce and operate its own self-driving cars on Uber’s ridesharing network. This comes a few months after Uber announced a $300 million joint venture with Volvo to create autonomous cars together. Currently, Daimler doesn’t have any self-driving vehicles on the market, but it’s working on a line due out “in the coming years,” Travis Kalanick, CEO of Uber said.

Uber’s partnership with Daimler differs from the deal with Volvo in a significant way; Daimler will own and operate its vehicles independently, but use Uber’s technology and ridesharing network services, as reported. Ultimately this is a significant pivot for Uber, as it was co-developing autonomous vehicles, but this strategy offers OEMs the chance to join in on $3.3 billion and growing ride-sharing market without having to build their own platform

This partnership also plays into a key desire for Uber to dominate the autonomous vehicle space, which could reduce traffic incidents with wide adoption, free up parking spaces or reduce overall road congestion, but also ultimately eliminate the need for the company to employ drivers.

“Auto manufacturers like Daimler are crucial to our strategy because Uber has no experience making cars—and in fact, making cars is really hard,” said Kalanick.

In general, it’s a smart move for Uber as well as Daimler, because it positions Uber as a leader in predicting demand and routing, while also detaching itself from the troubles of automotive manufacturing, thereby giving Daimler a place to shine.

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