A group of investors including Google is investing $258 million in car sharing service Uber, a surprise move that spawned rumors that the search engine giant will use Uber as a platform for developing autonomous car technology.
A slyly written story on TechCrunch dated “July 25 2023” proclaimed that Uber was ready to put Google’s self-driving cars on the street.
“As part of its second-quarter earnings announcement today, local transportation and delivery giant Uber announced its biggest bet on autonomous vehicles yet, saying it would purchase 2,500 driverless cars from Google,” the post read.
This was enough to cause plenty of confusion, with tech bloggers and even the Mail Online running with the story as if it were fact.
Google, of course, does not have any autonomous cars to sell. Its test vehicles are one-offs converted from production models like the Toyota Prius and Lexus RX. Google is considering building cars of its own, but they won’t be on sale for a long time, if ever.
However, that doesn’t mean Google and Uber aren’t thinking about self-driving cars.
Discussing the $258 million financing deal, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick hinted at the possibility of driverless cars, describing Google’s "incredibly complementary product suite, ranging from Google Maps to Android to self-driving vehicles."
If Google wants to introduce its autonomous cars to the public, is a car sharing service as good a place to start as any? Tell us what you think in the comments below.