Perhaps some of you have imagined winning the lottery and buying each of your friends and family a car. Well, Uber’s version of that fantasy is to become one of the most valuable startups ever and forking over $10 Billion for at least 100,000 Mercedes-Benz S-Class sedans. According to recent reports, the ride sharing company bought the world’s craziest luxury fleet in a mysterious, but certainly intriguing move.
While some might immediately jump to the conclusion that Uber is merely upgrading its “Uber Black” crew, we think the intentions are far more advanced. Mercedes-Benz has made great strides over the last decade to bring autonomous driving technology to mass market vehicles, and it’s a good bet that Uber isn’t going to be adding your run of the mill S-Class to its arsenal.
While present self-driving technology is both imperfect and unregulated, many experts estimate fully autonomous cars will be on sale in the next 10-15 years, and partially-autonomous vehicles are already on the road. If Uber could remove the middle man (drivers) from its business model, it might actually turn a profit and have a far more lucrative operation. An automotive industry source told Reuters, “[Uber] wanted autonomous cars. It seemed like they were shopping around.”
If the reports prove true, Uber has literally doubled Mercedes-Benz’s annual S-Class sales (about 100,000 units were sold last year) and made some instant friends in Germany. Either way, expect Uber is taking a keen interest in autonomous driving systems.