Google’s self-driving car hasn’t even been released yet, but it looks like it already has some competition. Uber announced this week that they will also be working to create the automobile of the future.
Uber is planning on joining up with Carnegie Mellon University to create the Uber Advanced Technologies Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. There they will focus on developing long-term technologies that will bring safe, reliable transportation to the driverless car front, all with a taxi sort of spin.
While plans were only officially announced yesterday, this isn’t the first time the company has mentioned the idea. The Verge reports that earlier last year, Uber CEO, Travis Kalanick said, “The reason Uber could be expensive is because you’re not just paying for the car — you’re paying for the other dude in the car. When there’s no other dude in the car, the cost of taking an Uber anywhere becomes cheaper than owning a vehicle. So the magic there is, you basically bring the cost below the cost of ownership for everybody, and then car ownership goes away.” Basically what we’re taking away from that is the revelation that personal chauffeurs might not be such a pipe dream anymore (oh and also, the CEO of Uber uses the word “dude” in formal statements. That is all.).
Uber embarkment into the driverless car market shouldn’t really come as too much of a shock; a fleet of self-driving cars hitting the street would quickly becoming something of a taxi company’s worst nightmare if they didn’t figure out how to get in on the action. Aside from the cheaper rate, this eventual advancement could amp up the debatably unsafe reputation the service has acquired — but that means a likely bigger hit to their rep if they eliminate the jobs of all those drivers they employ.
PS: Uber, if you’re listening, we’re loving the looks of the Google car, but what do you say you get a little funkier with your designs and take a hint from this epic stained glass driverless concept car designed by Dominic Wilcox?
What’s your take on self-driving cars? Would you hop in one? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!