This is different from Uber's current partnership with Volvo. That deal involves retrofitting Uber's technology to existing Volvo platforms. Under the Daimler deal, the German automaker would build and supply the vehicles to Uber, who would in turn introduce the autonomous vehicles to its fleet. In a statement on its blog, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick said, "We can't do it alone. Auto manufacturers like Daimler are crucial to our strategy because Uber has no experience making cars — and in fact, making cars is really hard." Sounds like the "frenemies" are on pretty good terms.
The move also follows Daimler's new corporate strategy, CASE. The acronym stands for "Connected", "Autonomous", "Shared & Services" and "Electric" and reveals the automaker's current driving focus. The partnership seems to be one of convenience and cost savings. Both want a fleet of autonomous ridesharing vehicles. By using existing networks, products, and expertise, the two companies can focus on bringing their product to the market.
Shifting the development of vehicles to Daimler also saves Uber some of the headache involved with making the vehicles roadworthy. The disastrous effort in San Francisco ended just days after it began. Uber's fleet of Volvos was caught multiple times by multiple sources violating numerous traffic laws. The state of California revoked Uber's privileges and halted the program. As an automaker, Daimler has far more experience with developing, building, and testing automobiles.