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The announcement continues Uber's movement toward self-driving vehicles. The company introduced its self-driving technology to the press last September and has been testing Volvo-built technologies with this technology in Pittsburgh and Arizona. A brief test in San Francisco had to be suspended after a clash with the California Department of Motor Vehicles over permitting.
Kalanick reiterated that Uber has no plans to build the vehicles itself, writing, "Auto manufacturers like Daimler are crucial to our strategy because Uber has no experience making cars—and in fact, making cars is really hard....That's why instead of building them ourselves, we want to partner with the best auto manufacturers in the world.
Daimler is best known for the Mercedes-Benz automotive line, but also manufactures trucks under the U.S.-based Freightliner brand. Last year, Uber bought a start-up called Otto that's introduced self-driving truck technology, so the Daimler deal may play into that business as well. But for the time being, Uber's limiting the partnership to cars on its ride-sharing network.