Uber has survived a litany of obctacles since exploding onto the scene over the past few years. But despite lawsuits, dozens of rivals, scathing media coverage, and federal regulations enacted specifically to outlaw its practice, the company has continued to thrive as a major player in the global transportation industry.
But now it looks like Uber has at last met its match: itself.
Google, one of Uber’s main investors, has announced it will launch its own ride-hailing service. But if you thought that’s all, then you don’t know Google, because this service will be driven, literally, by its driverless car project.
Let that sink in for a moment. Some guys drive Ferraris, others pick up their Tinder dates in a robot.
Details are hush-hush at the moment, but Google employees have already been using the self-driving cars, which are estimated to be two to five years away from widespread use.
Here’s where Uber should be concerned: the company’s smartphone app for both users and drivers is heavily reliant on Google Maps, the world’s leading mapping technology. Google, of course, is free to determine who has access to it – and it doesn’t take an expert to predict the customer drop-off that would result in Uber being forced to operate on AOL MapQuest.
It remains to be seen if Google will act so ruthlessly, but several rifts between the two companies have emerged in the past few weeks.
In the meantime, cryptic shade has been thrown:
Cover image from: galleryhip.com