Uber takes over Otto, partners with Volvo for autonomous driving

August 19, 2016 // By Julien Happich
On the company's webpage, Uber's CEO and Co-Founder Travis Kalanick officially announced the acquisition of Otto, a fresh startup driven by high profile engineers who developed a kit that allows big-rig trucks to drive autonomously on highways.

Otto’s co-founder Anthony Levandowski will lead Uber and Otto's combined self-driving efforts across personal transportation, delivery and trucking. The dream team, as the CEO describes it, gathers "one of the strongest autonomous engineering groups in the world; self-driving trucks and cars that are already on the road thanks to Otto and Uber’s Advanced Technologies Center in Pittsburgh; the practical experience that comes from running ridesharing and delivery services in hundreds of cities; with the data and intelligence that comes from doing 1.2 billion miles on the road every month".

Bloomberg reports that the 91-employee driverless truck startup founded early 2016 includes ex-engineers from Google, Apple, and Tesla, all racing to make autonomous driving a commodity. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The CEO looks at the Otto acquisition as a natural step toward the delivery of self-driving technology that it could license to car manufacturers. Something that complements Uber's partnership with Swedish car maker Volvo also announced in the same blog.

"Volvo has consistently been a leader when it comes to safety. And partnership is crucial to our self-driving strategy because Uber has no experience making cars. To do it well is incredibly hard, as I realized on my first visit to a car manufacturing plant several years ago. By combining Uber’s self-driving technology with Volvo’s state-of-the art vehicles and safety technology, we’ll get to the future faster than going it alone" he wrote.