Update: The Wall Street Journal says that the news about Google working on a driverless taxi solution has been blown out of proportion. According to the publication’s report, a person familiar with the matter has said that, “a Google engineer has been testing an internal app that helps Google employees carpool to work, and the app isn’t associated with the company’s driverless cars program.”
Google’s tweet to Bloomberg also hints at the company distancing itself from the rumor:
The publication learned from someone close to the Uber board that Google plans to offer its own ride-hailing service, probably powered by its self-driving cars. Uber’s board was informed by Google’s own Chief Legal Officer David Drummond, who joined the board in 2013.
Google Ventures is one of Uber’s largest benefactors, having invested $258 million in the company in August of 2013 – today’s report would certainly place the companies at odds.
The news comes soon after a report by TechCrunch that Uber is working on its own self-driving vehicles in a new research facility based in Pittsburgh. Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has previously said that he expects drivers to be replaced by automated vehicles in the future.
➤ Google Is Developing Its Own Uber Competitor [Bloomberg]