Uber is looking for a way to cut one of its biggest costs: drivers.
According to Reuters, the ride-hailing app is shopping around Germany for a fleet of autonomous vehicles. We don't know how many cars it wants to purchase, but it seems to be doing a lot of shopping in Germany lately; earlier today, Germany's Manager Magazin - citing unnamed sources - claimed Uber had placed an order for 100,000 Mercedes S-Class series with Daimler.
Those cars do not yet have fully autonomous driving functionality, so it looks like Uber is in the country buying up traditional cars with some autonomous features as well as ones that are completely self-driving. The location makes sense considering several German automakers, including Volkswagen's Audi and BMW, are all developing driverless technologies.
Uber is no stranger to autonomous vehicles. It partnered with Carnegie Mellon to create the Uber Advanced Technologies Center, with the purpose of researching and designing autonomous vehicles. Also, Uber's CEO hasn't been shy about admitting self-driving taxis were likely a part of his company's future, but today's news seems to be one of the best indicators of that yet.
The company currently relies on drivers who have their own personal vehicles. If Uber buys a fleet of cars, it'll be able to lease them to drivers, and if it were to buy autonomous cars, it could replace drivers altogether.
Mercedes has said its S-Class series won't be autonomous-ready until 2020.
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