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Is Uber Beating Google In The Autonomous Driving Race?

Is Uber Beating Google In The Autonomous Driving Race?

Uber may be the current leader in the autonomous driving race, as its customers can hail a fully automated, self-driving Volvo AB (ADR) (OTC: VOLVY) SUV in a pilot project that will start this month. On the other hand, Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ: GOOG) (NASDAQ: GOOGL) and its Google unit are still working on their own autonomous driving vehicle.

Google had actually begun working on autonomous cars before the concept of Uber even existed. So how is it that Uber, a much smaller upstart, is beating the behemoth Google in the category? According to Recode, this is a question that Google and its employees are asking themselves.

Related Link: Uber's Goal: Replace 1 Million Human Drivers With Robot Drivers ASAP

Recode took a shot at answering why Google has been a "laggard to new rivals" in the space. First, Google devoted itself toward making a fully driverless car, which is a "far more difficult feat" given a lack of a steering wheel and other characteristics of a traditional car.

Second, Google is in no hurry to rush a product to the market as it doesn't need a new revenue stream to support its business. By comparison, Uber's CEO Travis Kalanick was quoted by Bloomberg as saying autonomous driving vehicles were "basically existential for us."

Third, Google may have trouble finding auto partners as manufacturers are skeptical of the type of data and control Google demands as part of an agreement.

In the meantime, Google still holds an advantage over Uber and others in areas including machine intelligence, maps and not to mention its Android platform, which serves as a "capacity to distribute software for self-driving cars."

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