Former allies Uber and Google look to be at odds as each plans for a future driven by autonomous taxis. It's going to be a race for several years, but it looks like both companies are in the running.
Bloomberg Business reports that as Google readies it autonomous vehicles in the next few years, it hopes to introduce an Uber competitor. Meanwhile, Uber has just announced it's at work on "autonomy technology" in a partnership with Carnegie Mellon University.
We already knew that Google has been building its driverless cars in Detroit, but now Bloomberg has it that from a source close to the Uber board that Uber executives have seen screenshots of a Google ride-sharing app. It's also being reported that Uber, in a counterstrike of sorts, is planning its own research into autonomous cars with a team of 50 from Carnegie Mellon University and the affiliated National Robotics Engineering Center.
This wasn't always a vicious rivalry in the making. At least it didn't appear that way when Google Ventures invested $258 million in Uber back in 2013. That was and still is Google's largest investment deal ever and it was followed by more funding later in the year. At that time, David Drummond, who is Google’s chief legal officer and a senior vice president of corporate development, got the go ahead to join Uber's board of directors. He's still there, but perhaps not for much longer as the companies ready for conflict.
So, should we take an Uber... or a Google?