If we can believe the reports, Google is about to put together their own car service that will compete with ride sharing services like Uber and Lyft. But there won’t be any drivers to contend with, we’re looking at a fleet of Google’s self driving cars.
This news comes out of Bloomberg, reporting that Uber executives have heard from Google of these plans.
Google has been a major backer of Uber, having invested more than $258 million into the ride sharing company. As such, Google has a seat on the board at Uber, from whom Uber has heard of Google’s plans for their driverless car initiative.
Looking at Google’s autonomous car program, this move makes sense. Google could attempt to sell their cars to us as individuals, requiring us to jump through hoops for registration and insurance. Instead, a ride sharing service leaves the cars in Google’s control and responsibility, which would be great for us, at least in some regards.
The idea of calling up a driverless car from Google for your local transportation needs is pretty slick, and could come at a rate far less than that of the competition, due to not having to pay a driver. This theory, however, falls apart entirely if local law requires a driver in each vehicle, but we’ll leave that discussion for another day.
Where does this leave things between Google and Uber, then? It looks like Google will withdraw their position on the Uber board. On the flip side, we are hearing that Uber is teaming up with Carnegie Mellon University to build their own autonomous driving systems. It seems the two have learned from each other and shall now part ways and get all up in each other’s business. We’ll have to wait to see how Uber fares… er, fairs, in this ordeal.
What do you say, would you go for a ride in one of Google’s autonomous vehicles?