Ben Thompson on Google (Waze) v. Uber
The reason this matters is that building a self-driving car is like building a smartphone: it’s a hard problem, to be sure, but it’s only half of the equation when it comes to transportation-as-a-service. After all, just how useful would an iPhone or Android device be without the cloud? Similarly, a transportation-as-a-service company built around self-driving cars not only needs cars that can drive themselves, but an entire infrastructure on the back-end that tells those cars exactly where to go in a way that maximizes what will undoubtedly be a massive capital investment in the cars themselves.
This is likely the motivation behind Google’s Waze-based ride-sharing service. Kalanick may be right that Google is ahead when it comes to self-driving cars, but they have a lot of catching up to do when it comes to telling those cars where to go.
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