Uber has confirmed the acquisition of a number of leading robotics experts from Carnegie Mellon University to work at a research facility opening in Pittsburgh. But now Google is looking to become their competition.
There has been some controversy over Uber in the last few months. Several drivers working for the ride-on-demand service have been arrested for rape, and the company has been quick to state that they will begin greater measures to ensure the safety of their passengers.
However, it may be that they do this by eliminating drivers altogether.
Jumping into the growing self-driving car industry, Uber is hoping to create fleets of automated taxis that use robotics to steer through the traffic in their streets. Unsurprisingly, they are not the only ones to be thinking along these lines.
Google Gets On Board
Google has been creating their own self-driving cars, culminating in a very hyped recorded drive last year.
Now, they are making themselves the biggest rival and threat to Uber’s new plans as they seek to create their own self-driving taxis and automated drive-by-demand service.
What makes this so ironic is that Google has been a significant investor in the next-stage development of Uber. They gave an incredible $258 million to the startup before the company’s David Drummond joined their board of directors.
Rumors began to fly that Google would be seeking to buy Uber out, and maybe that was the original plan. But whatever the case, that doesn’t appear to be the plan now. They are instead going to be going head to head for dominance in the self driving taxi market.
Already, Uber has been facing some rather fierce competition. Following news of the Uber driver rapes, Lyft definitely seemed to look like a valid option. Other startups like Sidecar also exist.
Google presents the first ever real foil to Uber. Their reputation has taken a hit, but they could come out the other side. But it is hard to imagine them surviving an aggressive push by the better funded Google, especially when it comes to developing their taxis first.
Yes, Carnegie Mellon has some of the greatest minds in robotics (such as the geniuses behind the Mars Rover). But Google does, as well, and their secretive headquarters has already produced some intense advances hinted at in the industry.
Besides, they already have a self-driving car prototype, making them far closer to the mark than Uber.