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Google and Uber Clash over Self-Driving Taxis

Smart Cars, Smart Apps


If ever there was a company that should never be tangled with, it’s Google. The search engine giant is always expanding into new avenues, researching technological advancements and developing new ideas. Competing with them is unwise, particularly if your company previously had a good working relationship with them.

Such is the case with Uber, one of the largest global taxi firms in the world. In most areas, their service will appear pretty high on the suggested taxis list on Google maps, provide a direct link to their app. As such, Google’s chief legal officer is on Uber’s board of directors.

It’s well documented that Google have been funding their own R&D for self-driving cars for a good few years now, with prototypes being showcased and widely reported on. It’s still a long way from being financially viable, but Google are closer than anyone else and they have the influence to get the system out into the world quickly and effectively once it reaches that stage. Furthermore, Google have hopes to offer a taxi hailing service just like Uber's. This is probably to launch in conjuncture with the release of their self driving cars. 


Uber do not have such resources, but it turns out they have their own plans for self-driving technology. They have acquired a robotics facility in Pittsburgh and reportedly drafted in dozens of scientists from Carnegie Mellon University’s robotics institute to get the project rolling. As well as taking on a much larger company at something they have a 6 year head start on, Uber are risking a massive conflict of interest with this play, which could result in any Google-based promotion of their app and service quickly disappearing.

Since this news broke, Uber and Google’s relationship has deteriorated to some extent. Uber are also allegedly working on their own mapping app, a move which might work to sever their ties with Google permanently. Uber don’t have the best history when it comes to PR anyway, fielding controversy about steep fare rates and poor customer service. The notion that they plan to use a self-driving service in order to eliminate the cost of actual drivers probably isn’t sitting particularly well with their staff, either.

Callum Davies

Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @CallumAtSMF

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Google and Uber Clash over Self-Driving Taxis Reviewed by Unknown on Friday, February 06, 2015 Rating: 5
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