Google Develops Uber Rival... While Uber Develops Autonomous Car


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If tech companies were celebrity couples, Google and Uber would be among the most popular. Google is one of Uber's biggest investors, and the ridesharing company uses Google Maps to coordinate its services. Both companies are also boosters of self-driving cars.

Yet now it seems like Google and Uber are working against each other. The search engine giant is reportedly developing a ridesharing service of its own, while Uber is conducting its own research on autonomous cars.

Uber executives have already been made aware of the Google rideshare project by David Drummond, a Google executive who sits on the company's board, according to Bloomberg. They've even reportedly seen screenshots of what appears to be an app used by Google employees to hail rides.

Drummond was placed on the Uber board after Google invested $258 million in the company in August 2013, although given Google's apparent intentions to compete with Uber, he may be asked to leave.

Meanwhile, Uber announced Monday that it will work with Carnegie Mellon University to develop autonomous cars. The two entities will open the Uber Advanced Technologies Center near the university's campus in Pittsburgh to conduct research.

In the past, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has said self-driving cars could make his company's service cheaper by eliminating the cost of paying human drivers. Riding with a robot may also sound more appealing to some than riding with a stranger.

However, it seems more likely that Google will develop an Uber competitor than for Uber to leapfrog Google's many years of autonomous car testing.

Google's converted test cars have already logged many miles on California roads, and the company has just begun testing a purpose-built autonomous prototype of its own.

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