Volvo, Toyota steering clear of Uber crash’s impact
Carmakers who’ve linked their autonomous futures to Uber Technologies Inc. could feel the effects after a self-driving car from the ride-hailing giant hit and killed a woman in Tempe, Arizona, on Sunday evening.
Volvo Cars, which makes the vehicles that San Francisco-based Uber uses in its self-driving tests, declined to comment in detail on the incident. In November, Uber agreed to buy 24,000 Volvo sport utility vehicles on which it planned to install its own sensors and software to permit pilot-less driving.
“We are aware that Uber is cooperating with local authorities in their investigation,” Volvo said in a statement after the crash.
Toyota Motor Corp. also has been working on a plan to team up with Uber on autonomous driving. Dara Khosrowshahi, chief executive officer of Uber, posted a photo on Twitter with Toyota President Akio Toyoda at the automaker’s headquarters last month, though details on the collaboration have been slim.
A Toyota spokesman said last week the automaker hadn’t yet decided whether to buy Uber’s driverless-car software. At CES in January, Toyota unveiled an electric self-driving concept vehicle that it will develop jointly with customers including Uber and Amazon.com Inc. Toyota bought a stake in Uber in 2016, without disclosing the size or the reason for the investment.
“We believe that open collaboration with various companies is critical” for mobility as a service, a spokeswoman for Toyota said in an email after the Uber incident. “As such, we regularly exchange information about automated driving with Uber for some time now. However, beyond what we have announced, nothing is decided at this moment.”
Daimler AG, the manufacturer of Mercedes-Benz, has also reached an agreement with Uber to include the German company’s self-driving vehicles on its ride-hailing network in the “coming years.” Daimler declined to comment Monday on the Uber incident.
–With assistance from Elisabeth Behrmann
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