Report: With Eye on Self-Driving Cars, Uber Buys 100,000 Mercedes

Posted By Chris Roberts : sfweekly – excerpt

The word out of Germany today is San Francisco-headquartered Uber is buying 100,000 Mercedes-Benz S-Class sedans — not for the world’s largest and most obnoxious rap video (“I got 99 problems/but an employee ain’t one”), but in order to prepare for the not-too-distant future where taxis — and Uber drivers — are eliminated with self-driving Uber vehicles.

The news first broke via a German publication, Manager Magazin, which noted that both Uber and Daimler (the parent company of the German luxury auto of choice) have been investing “heavily” in autonomous technology: Uber hired away most of Carnegie Mellon University’s robotics team, and Mercedes has an S-Class that’s able to navigate traffic by itself, Engadget notes.

For Uber — notorious for treating its workers poorly, as if they were excess, unwanted baggage only here by way of necessity — the end goal seems clear: a sentient fleet of Ubers, sans drivers (the company already has one, after all).

And while the original report, sourced from anonymous sources, is now being refuted by anonymous sources, apparently Mercedes wasn’t the only automaker Uber approached.

Tesla was another. No matter who supplied them, “[Uber] wanted autonomous cars,” an anonymous source told Reuters. “It seemed like they were shopping around.”…(more)

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