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Google's Waze ride sharing service / Waymo are probably coming after Uber sooner rather than later.

RamzFanz

Well-Known Member
Google spun off their SDC division as Waymo last year with a non-tech marketing CEO at the helm. Many in the industry see this as a sign that Google believes their SDCs are almost ready for launch.

Google just announced they are expanding their waze ridesharing app.

"Google is planning to dramatically expand a carpool service on its popular navigation app Waze, setting the tech giant on a collision course with the ride-sharing industry."

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/googles-waze-plans-to-expand-its-ride-sharing-service-2017-02-22

These moves could be signals that they may be much closer to launching an SDC TNC fleet than previously imagined. While many drivers are wildly predicting a decade or more before their income from Uber is threatened by Uber's SDC project, Uber itself may now be under imminent threat.

I would not now be shocked if Waymo launched a pilot fleet this year or next. Their next big report on their progress from 2016 is going to tell us a lot about where they are in the process. Towards the end of 2015 they had 7 straight months without a necessary driver take over. If they continued improving at the same rate or better, as they've almost driven more miles in 2016 than all the previous years combined, the timeline for launch, originally thought to be 2020, may be shortening dramatically. This is especially true now that they are making their fleet almost 5 time larger with the addition of 200 minivans.

This makes a lot of sense as they are probably still the most advanced and Tesla and others are claiming they are nearing launch. Tesla is saying this year. Others are saying 2018-2021. Almost none are saying longer than that.

The worst part for Uber drivers is that if Wamo wins the race, they plan on leasing the platform to any auto manufacturer who chooses to use it. That means massive and well funded competition for Uber.
 
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Maven

Well-Known Member
I'd support Uber's competitors if they were competing for driver resources. If the SDC cars require a "ride-along" human, like the test models in Arizona then there may still be a benefit to drivers. However, if the SDC cars are truly driver-less then the drivers are screwed, regardless of who wins the competition.
 

RamzFanz

Well-Known Member
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #3
I'd support Uber's competitors if they were competing for driver resources. If the SDC cars require a "ride-along" human, like the test models in Arizona then there may still be a benefit to drivers. However, if the SDC cars are truly driver-less then the drivers are screwed, regardless of who wins the competition.
Yes, I'm referring to fully self driving or with rare remote driving, not testing. If they test ride-sharing in the test fleet to work out the bugs, they will probably use their engineers as monitors rather than civilians.

I don't think there's much of a chance Uber themselves win the race outright but their partner Volvo could lease Waymo's platform. Waymo may, of course, refuse Volvo in order to kill Uber. Waymo winning is the worst case scenario for us as it enables all manufacturers who are willing to lease to put out SDC TNC fleets very quickly.

If Waymo launches this year, we could be looking at 2019-20 as our last decent Uber years in major metro areas.

Another danger is that Tesla really launches SDCs this year with their TNC platform or they change direction and partner with Uber.
 
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Maven

Well-Known Member
RamzFanz, liked the video, but it does not tell the whole story. The video states that "sub-surface mapping" is required for the system to work. Consider how many years it has taken google to map the roads in the USA. Even that is not perfect, not complete and subject to constant changes in the road system. Yes, there is a way to update, but it will never be 100% correct. A second issue, is the lack of comprehensive maps, both traditional and sub-surface, for personal driveways and private roads. How will an autonomous car stay on an unmapped driveway in the snow? This leads to several questions:
  • How big an issue is this?
  • If the mapping system fails in an autonomous car that cannot safely proceed to destination then will it be able to shift to human control?
  • What if none of the passengers are able to drive (underage or no drivers license)?
No doubt, the developers are aware of these issues and working towards a solution, but that will take more time and money.
 

Mars Troll Number 4

Well-Known Member
  • If the mapping system fails in an autonomous car that cannot safely proceed to destination then will it be able to shift to human control?
  • What if none of the passengers are able to drive (underage or no drivers license)?
No doubt, the developers are aware of these issues and working towards a solution, but that will take more time and money.
You left out...

What if none of the passengers are...

sighted (the PC opposite of blind)

Sober

Human
 
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