Uber Technologies Inc. is holding talks with Waymo the autonomous driving unit of Alphabet Inc. about using Waymo’s technology on the ride-hailing app of Uber, said Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi on Wednesday. This signals the possible thawing in relations between both firms.
The Uber CEO said during the Code Conference that the relationship Uber had with Waymo was better since February when Uber agreed to pay $245 million worth of shares to Waymo in settlement of a legal dispute related to trade secrets.
We are having talks with Waymo and if something were to happen that is excellent and if not that can be lived with as well.
Waymo is a great provider of technology, added the Uber CEO and having it on our network would be good.
Waymo did not make a comment when asked. Although, it has proceeded with its plans to operate without the help of Uber, developing a fleet of vehicles that it said has more than 6 million self-driven miles across public roads.
Last year, in a suit it filed Waymo said one of its ex-engineers who became the head of Uber’s project of self-driving, took with him confidential documents in the thousands. The lawsuit was both a cost of money and time to Uber in its development of a self-driving vehicle.
Khosrowshahi said that he believes that the technology that is behind the autonomous driving is going to be shared, and that any business like Waymo that wants to be the leader in the sector will have to partner with Uber due to the network Uber has of smartphone users.
Waymo is planning to roll out a service that is app-based in 2018 offering passenger rides in a Waymo fully self-driving car that has not driver. It also has a partnership that it has with Lyft Inc., one of Uber’s rivals.
Uber is planning to restart its self-driving operation over the upcoming months said the Uber CEO.