Uber-Waymo in self-driving collaboration talks

The development marks a signs of thaw in what has been earlier a strained relationship. With Dara Khosrowshahi at its helm, Uber’s rough edges are getting more polish.

In a development that marks the possibility of thaw in what was earlier a strained relationship, Uber’s CEO Dara Khosrowshahi stated, Uber Technologies Inc is in talks with Alphabet Inc’s Waymo to use its technology on Uber’s ride-hailing app.

On the sidelines of the Code Conference, Khosrowshahi disclosed Uber’s relationship with Waymo was “getting better”; incidentally in February 2018 Uber agreed to pay Waymo $245 million in shares to settle a legal dispute over trade secrets.

“We’re having discussions with Waymo. If something happens, great. If not, we can live with that, too,” said Khosrowshahi.

He went on to add, Waymo is an “incredible technology provider” and having it on Uber’s network would be a positive development.

Waymo declined to comment.

Waymo has proceeded with its own independent plans and is developing a fleet of self-driving cars that have travelled 6 million miles on public roads.

In Waymo’s lawsuit, filed in 2017, it had alleged that one of its former engineers, who went on to head Uber’s self-driving car project, took with him several thousand confidential documents.

According to Khosrowshahi, the technology behind autonomous driving will be shared, and for companies such as Waymo, who want to be a leader in the sector, they will need to partner with others. Uber is position well because of its extensive network of smartphone users.

Incidentally, Waymo plans on rolling out an app-based service later this year with ride offers in a completely self-driven car.

Waymo has an existing partnership with Lyft Inc, Uber’s peer.

Khosrowshahi stated, Uber plans to restart its own self-driving car operation in the coming months.

Earlier this month, Uber shut down its testing facility in Arizona following a fatal crash involving one of its vehicles.

“We will get back on the road over the summer,” said Khosrowshahi, while adding that the fatal episode will eventually “make us a better company”.

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