Google is set to become another player in the ‘ride for hire’ service market.
According to Bloomberg, Google’s new umbrella company, Alphabet, is expected to make some big changes next year.
This includes the separation of Google’s self driving car unit into a new firm, which is set to offer a ‘ride for hire’ service using the company’s autonomous vehicles.
How Google’s self-driving vehicle works.
A person briefed on the company’s strategy said that the tech giant could begin rolling out the service in areas where it has tested the vehicles extensively, including San Francisco and Austin. It is likely to initially be confined to areas like college campuses, military bases or corporate office parks, Bloomberg’s source says.
This is due to the fact that smaller contained areas are easier to manage and program for and don’t require as stringent licensing requirements compared to making the service available on public roads.
The move would put Google’s ‘self-driving cars up for hire’ service in direct competition with other ride hailing services such as Uber and Lyft.
“These potential ride-for-hire services could allow consumers to experience the technology and embrace it in a bigger way,” Thilo Koslowski, vice president and automotive practice leader at Gartner, told Bloomberg.
“That would help not just Google but the entire industry.”
Google says that the company’s interest in pushing forward with autonomous vehicles and self-driving cars is driven by the technology’s potential to reduce traffic accidents.
Uber is also working on a self driving project
But Google is not alone, Uber has hired more than 50 people from Carnegie Mellon Univeristy for its self driving project.
According to the Verge, a person who was there during the departures said that Uber “took all the guys that were working on vehicle autonomy — basically whole groups, whole teams of developers, commercialization specialists, all the guys that find grants and who were bringing the intellectual property,”
Jeff Holden, chief product officer of Uber, said:
“We are excited to join the community of Pittsburgh and partner with the experts at CMU, whose breadth and depth of technical expertise, particularly in robotics, are unmatched.
“As a global leader in urban transportation, we have the unique opportunity to invest in leading-edge technologies to enable the safe and efficient movement of people and things at giant scale.
“This collaboration and the creation of the Uber Advanced Technologies Center represent an important investment in building for the long term of Uber.”