Uber to develop self-driving cars, butting heads with Google

The companies look set to become rivals, with Google reportedly building a ride-hailing app

Uber's mobile app.
Uber's mobile app.

Uber is joining forces with Carnegie Mellon University to open a research center that will develop self-driving cars, expanding its business in a new direction and opening a potential rift with Google.

The Uber Advanced Technologies Center, near the CMU campus, will do work primarily on mapping, vehicle safety and "autonomy technology," Uber said Monday.

The technologies should advance Uber's mission of bringing "safe, reliable transportation to everyone, everywhere," the company said.

It may also spark a battle with Google, which already develops self-driving cars and recently started work on its own ride-hailing app that will compete with Uber's, according to a Bloomberg report Monday, which cited one unnamed source.

With competing projects under way, friction between the companies could be brewing. And as Bloomberg notes, that could be bad news for Uber. The company's service is built on Google Maps, and if Uber were to lose access to the software it could be left with a less desirable alternative like Apple Maps or Yahoo Maps.

Google declined to comment on the idea it was developing its own ride-hailing service. It downplayed the idea in a tweet directed at Bloomberg which read: "We think you'll find Uber and Lyft work quite well. We use them all the time."

As for Uber's autonomous vehicles, it didn't give a timeline for when its R&D projects might be ready for commercial use. Google has said the public could be using its self-driving cars in two to five years.

Uber's partnership with CMU will create a forum for it to work with the university's faculty, staff and students, it said, both on campus and at CMU's National Robotics Engineering Center.

The agreement includes funding from Uber for faculty chairs and graduate fellowships, the company said. It has already hired more than 50 scientists from CMU and the robotics center, according to a report in TechCrunch.

It's the latest example of an online company partnering closely with academics to work on advanced technologies. Google, Facebook and Microsoft have all been hiring leading academics to work on fields like artificial intelligence, robotics and computer vision.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is zach_miners@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Blog Posts

Using artificial intelligence to surprise your customers

​We have expected artificial intelligence (AI) will become part of our everyday lives for quite some time.

Katja Forbes

Founder and chief, sfyte

Is customer segmentation dead?

Ginni Rometty, the CEO of IBM, announced the death of customer segmentation five years ago saying, "The shift is to go from the segment to the individual. She might have been a bit premature for most marketers, but if customer segmentation isn't dead yet, it's definitely on life support.

Richard Taylor

Senior digital strategist, Spinach

How people buy brands

Andrew Ehrenberg was a giant in the field of marketing science. He believed scientific methods could reveal law-like patterns of how people buy. In this post, I summarise one of Ehrenberg’s most important discoveries and its implications on how people buy brands.

Kyle Ross

Strategist, TRP

What a great article. Thanks for sharing. Today Digital Marketing is the basic need for a business to survive. As online presence is very...

Ecomsolver Private Limited

Want to master digital transformation? Stop thinking about your own problems

Read more

Feeling grateful that customer led digital transformation could improve business and generate more business growth. Many companies are no...

Lilly Lawrence

How a customer-led digital transformation has helped this CMO generate $6m in incremental business

Read more

If a business games me happy than there is a higher chance I will go to them.

Martinez

The Iconic: becoming customer-focussed transformed our business

Read more

That’s a great example of surprising AR ad that went viral because it was first of its kind. Probably a similar effect to some scale can ...

Natasha Kvitka

Using artificial intelligence to surprise your customers

Read more

Hey there! it is a really meaningful post. I too have written a few similar articles about SEM, SEO, Social Media, Digital Marketing Tren...

Rohit

Digital advertising continues to dominate marketing budgets

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in