Google And Uber Race For Robot Drivers On Demand


Controversial driver service Uber is one of Silicon Valley’s greatest success stories. Having raised $1.2bn in capital in their last round of funding, some speculate the company is valued at anywhere between $18 – 40bn. However, wrapping up whole local markets of taxi business is not enough – Uber are moving onto robots!

Sources speaking to TechCrunch have revealed the company plans to open a research lab in Pittsburgh, PA with the aim to “kick-start autonomous taxi fleet development,”. Motivated by this, Uber have confirmed the intention to partner with Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute most notable for being the home of the Mars Rover.

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has always outlined his intention for a world without human drivers, and it is believed as many as 50 senior scientist will be helping to achieve this dream with the new tech base responsible for developing core robotics technology, new driverless vehicles and the infrastructure for their use. This comes as a new rival maybe set to join the driver on demand tech explosion, already with the tech for driverless cars – Google.

Google Cars

uber protest screenshotBloomberg Business has revealed that Google is at least looking at the viability of its own driver on-demand service.  Google already has ties to the driver market, having investment in Uber through Google ventures, as well Googles David Dummond sitting on the Uber board of directors. Given these facts, any move would be somewhat complicated and hard work.

Google will not move into a market that is not viable for them, however with driverless car tech and buoyed by the success of Uber integration into Googles own maps applications it maybe a swift move. However with Uber paying big premiums and guaranteeing $40 an hour in some areas for recruiting its drivers it maybe a hard push for someone new.  If anyone has the knowhow and funds to make almost anything work – it’s Google.

  Source: TechCrunch
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