Uber has joined forces with Waymo, Google’s previous self-driving car project, to incorporate Waymo’s autonomous vehicles into its ride-hailing application, according to The Washington Post. Waymo’s self-driving cars will be deployed via Uber for rides and food delivery in Phoenix, Arizona, where the driverless car service is already in operation, as part of the potential collaboration between the former competitors, Waymo explained in a blog post.
The development of self-driving cars has cost tech and automotive firms billions of dollars over the last ten years. However, the progress has been “slower than tech leaders had originally predicted,” as per the report. Some companies, like Uber, abandoned associated projects altogether, while others working on it operate only on smaller scales.
The arrangement is likely to produce a productive future for both companies, as they are industry leaders in their respective domains. Prior to the merger, Uber and Google were “fierce rivals,” with finance analysts predicting that “Uber would eventually have to get rid of human drivers in order to be highly profitable and justify its massive valuation.” The company started making significant investments in artificial intelligence and even hired a top engineer from Google’s self-driving division, Anthony Levandowski, who was later accused of “stealing trade secrets” by Google. The two companies eventually reached a settlement following Google’s 2017 lawsuit against Uber.