Alphabet’s Waymo, a leader in autonomous driving technology, has announced a strategic partnership with ride-hailing and food delivery platform Uber. The two companies will work together to offer Waymo’s self-driving vehicles to Uber users in the Phoenix area of the United States. This partnership marks an exciting new chapter for both companies as they seek to expand their offerings and promote the development of autonomous driving technology.
The partnership will begin with a pilot program in Phoenix, which is also the location of Waymo One, Waymo’s self-driving travel service. Waymo will provide Uber with a certain number of self-driving vehicles that will be available for Uber users to choose from when requesting a ride or food delivery through the Uber app.
“We’re excited to offer another way for people to experience the enjoyable and life-saving benefits of full autonomy,” said Tekedra Mawakana, co-CEO of Waymo. “The pairing of our pioneering technology and all-electric fleet with Uber’s customer network provides Waymo with an opportunity to reach even more people.”
Waymo and Uber will also collaborate on freight. Waymo Via, Waymo’s self-driving truck division, and Uber Freight, Uber’s logistics division, will use their respective advantages in autonomous driving technology and freight network to jointly promote the development of autonomous driving freight.
Rather than trying to one-up each other in the race to autonomous driving, Waymo and Uber have evidently realized that cooperation may be the smarter strategy. By teaming up, they can tap into each other’s strengths, scale faster, and make self-driving cars an option for more folks sooner. Talk about a win-win!
This partnership is a significant settlement between Waymo and Uber after years of litigation disputes.In 2017, Waymo sued Uber for stealing its self-driving technology and accused it of acquiring Otto, a self-driving company founded by former Google engineers. However, the two companies reached a settlement in 2018, in which Uber agreed to pay Waymo 0.34% of shares and ensure that its self-driving technology does not infringe Waymo’s intellectual property rights. Since then, Uber has sold its self-driving division to Aurora and has turned to other self-driving companies.
With Waymo’s expertise in self-driving vehicles and Uber’s large customer network, this partnership has the potential to bring fully autonomous driving technology to even more people as the companies continue to scale.