The XC90 SUVs are to be "base" vehicles, which incorporate a degree of autonomous capability but which are created to have Uber's proprietary driverless tech added on top. Last year, Uber agreed to use 100 XC90s for self-driving tests in Pittsburgh and later struck a deal to include autonomous vehicles from Mercedes-Benz in its network at some point.
The vehicles will also provide the foundation on which Volvo will develop its own autonomous cars strategy, which is set to culminate in the release of its first fully autonomous cars in 2021.
She said the new agreement puts Uber on the path toward rolling out mass-produced autonomous cars at scale. Uber then plans to add its own driverless technology and unleash a fleet of robo-taxis onto the world.
Uber has just taken another big step from a ride-sharing service to a transportation provider.
The company is also testing the auto in Arizona, San Francisco and Pittsburgh along with a safety driver to help refine and improve their software.
This latest move by Uber obviously contrasts with the company's current business model of its almost 2 million drivers each supplying and maintaining their own vehicles.
"The automotive industry is being disrupted by technology and Volvo Cars chooses to be an active part of that disruption", said Håkan Samuelsson, president and chief executive of Volvo in a statement. Bloomberg points out that these cars start at $46,900 at dealers across the United States, though it isn't hard to imagine Uber getting some kind of discount for ordering so many at once. It has retrofitted the test cars with sensors and autonomous driving hardware to enable them to drive on their own. Uber has also been in talks with SoftBank for a potential $10 billion investment, so this makes Uber's future look strong for the investment.