With driverless cars, Uber hopes to get rid of the cabbie

Uber wants to chauffeur you to your destination in a self-driving car – but does it have The Knowledge to do so?
With driverless cars, Uber hopes to get rid of the cabbie

With all the recent buzz about self-driving, driverless cars, it's not just commuters and car owners that are getting excited; ride-sharing service Uber wants in on the action, too.

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, speaking at the recent Code Conference, reckons that driverless cars could pave the way for a future where car ownership is a thing of the past. 

Kalanick says that driverless cars could lower costs for consumers, meaning that calling a car might well be cheaper than owning one. "The reason Uber is expensive is not the car," he notes, "it’s the other dude in the car. When there’s no dude in the car, the cost of taking the vehicle somewhere becomes cheaper than owning a vehicle. And then car ownership goes away."

Dude, where's my driver?

With driverless cars, Uber hopes to get rid of the cabbie

That sort of talk hasn't won Uber any friends among cab drivers. But Kalanick is bullish; Uber, he contends, is "changing the way cities work, and that's fundamentally a third rail."

Uber's in hot water with the London Taxi Drivers Association not because of its CEO's comments, but because of the way it calculates fares. Since Uber is a private hire, it can't use meters – but the smartphone app which negotiates Uber fees is, taxi drivers contend, a meter of its own.

Uber is racking up money on its meter, though; the firm is reportedly valued at US$17 billion, making it a ripe funding magnet. And to show it's here to stay, Google has even integrated Uber into its mobile Maps app.

[Source: TechRadar]

READ MORE: Google’s self-driving car: two seats, no steering wheel and no brake pedal