Google working to create own on-demand car service to compete with Uber


Among Google’s many moonshot projects have been autonomous driving cars. This is well above and beyond Android Auto, and all the Google Street View cars running around. While that project continues development, Google is aiming to create a service that would directly compete with ride-on-demand services like Uber and Lyft, except it would use Google’s autonomous self-driving vehicles.

The idea of competition is all find and dandy, but the touch of drama on this is that Google Ventures has invested over $250 million in Uber, and Google’s chief legal executive, David Drummond, sits on Uber’s board of directors.

Drummond has apparently already informed the Uber board members that Google is preparing to launch a competitive service and the now that body is considering whether or not it should ask for Drummond’s resignation.

Uber has been thinking about self-driving vehicles as a part of its service too. However, it is a technology that Google has a 10 year head start, and the company's project head, Sebastian Thrun, won an award from DARPA in 2005 for his robotic car.

We cannot help but wonder if Google also thinks it can better execute a mobile app and on-demand car service that will not be plagued by serious image issues. Uber is wildly popular, but it is growing so fast that things are simply getting messy. Drivers are getting arrested for drugs, taxi drivers hate Uber, cities are looking at ways to directly compete, some places have banned the service, and the company’s executives are not known for having a lot of…tact.

Reports from Bloomberg say that Uber executives have seen screenshots of what Google’s car request app looks like, and are “deeply concerned” about Google leveraging its technology to compete.

sources: Bloomberg via Business Insider
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