The Internet giant is considering a venture that would put it in direct competition with Uber, a company it's invested big bucks in.
Need a lift? You could hail a cab or request a ride from Uber. But down the road, you could be jumping into a Google car.
That’s right. The Internet giant is considering launching a ride-hailing service that would put it in competition with Uber for customers.
Bloomberg BusinessWeek reports that the ride service would be offered “most likely in conjunction with its long-in-development driverless car project,” referring to an initiative by Google to put autonomous vehicles on the road in an estimated two to five years.
The move comes as something of a surprise, given that Google is a big investor in Uber, and that its chief legal officer, David Drummond, sits on Uber’s board of directors. The latter may be short-lived.
“Uber may ask Drummond to resign from the board,” USA Today reports.
Uber also has a trick up its sleeve. The ride-hailing company announced it has partnered with Carnegie Mellon University to develop driverless car technology of its own, Bloomberg said.
Still, if Google opts to go head-to-head with Uber, “it won’t exactly be a fair fight,” The Washington Post said. Uber uses Google Maps for navigation. While Uber is just now investigating driverless technology, Google has invested years into its autonomous vehicle research.
What’s more, Uber may face an uphill battle to get self-driving cars on the roads. The Post said:
The company has a notoriously tense relationship with many cities and state governments due to its tendency to launch services rather than ask permission first. … Uber’s lobbying efforts are no match for Google’s prowess in the policy space. The search giant is among the top lobbying spenders in the country and has a sophisticated approach to getting its way with those in power, both at the federal and the state level.
Although Google declined to comment on its potential move into the ride-hailing business, Bloomberg said it did post this cryptically worded Tweet:
We think you’ll find Uber and Lyft work quite well. We use them all the time.
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However the road race shakes out in the long run, there’s an opportunity to make a little cash through the ride-sharing business in the short run. Watch this video to find out more: