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 Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags UberInternet-based applications and servicesGoogleemerging technologyMapsmobilesocial mediainternet

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Zach Miners

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Crucial Ballistix Elite 32GB Kit (4 x 8GB) DDR4-3000 UDIMM

Learn more >

Gadgets & Things

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Plox Star Wars Death Star Levitating Bluetooth Speaker

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?