Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi hopes Alphabet’s Waymo will join his company’s car network.
Speaking at the Code Conference on Wednesday, Khosrowshahi said that Uber is “having discussions with Waymo” about the possibility of using its self-driving car technology for his own company’s ridesharing service. The feature would ostensibly mean autonomous vehicles—instead of cars with drivers in them—would be picking you up and driving you to your desired destinations. Recode earlier reported on his comments.
“Owning or being a part of the largest rideshare network on a global basis will enable you to get the highest utilization out of your autonomous cars,” Khosrowshahi said about his discussions with Waymo.
Alphabet’s Waymo has been working for years on self-driving car technology and is believed to be one of the leaders in that space. Uber is also working on self-driving cars, along with Apple, General Motors, and countless others.
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Khosrowshahi’s comments were a bit of a surprise, considering Uber and Alphabet only recently put aside a legal tussle over whether Uber intentionally stole Waymo’s self-driving car secrets. The companies settled earlier this year.
In his interview at the Code Conference, Khosrowshahi argued that there’s a fundamental business necessity for his company and Waymo to work together. He said that autonomous vehicles will be shared among several people in the future in order to increase their utilization. He said that it’s “fundamental to the technology.” Bringing Waymo vehicles to Uber’s network, then, makes sense.
Whether the companies will actually ink a deal is unknown. But they have time: Self-driving cars aren’t expected to be ubiquitous for years.