Google has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in Uber in the past couple of years, but now Google might be gunning for the ride-sharing company’s business – or at least the future of it.
Bloomberg reports that Google has been working on a ride-sharing app service, presumably to be used with the company’s ever-improving self-driving cars initiative. Putting that into service could still be years down the line, but Uber isn’t about to let Google take over its territory.
Following reports earlier today from TechCrunch, Uber has officially announced plans to open the Uber Advanced Technologies Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It’s being founded through a partnership with Carnegie Mellon University; the earlier report said Uber had recruited more than 50 scientists from the school’s vaunted Robotics Institute.
“The center will focus on the development of key long-term technologies that advance Uber’s mission of bringing safe, reliable transportation to everyone, everywhere,” reads the official announcement. Or, as TechCrunch spelled out, pushing into the conception and manufacturing of driverless taxis.
Uber CEO Travis Kalanick hasn’t been shy about his company’s plans to pursue such a thing. “The Uber experience is expensive because it’s not just the car, but the other dude in the car,” he said last year, referring to the compensated driver behind the wheel. “When there’s no other dude in the car, the cost [of using Uber] gets cheaper than owning a vehicle.”