Bloomberg is reporting that Google is developing a service to compete with Uber, Lyft, and others:
'Google is preparing to offer its own ride-hailing service, most likely in conjunction with its long-in-development driverless car project.
Uber executives have seen screenshots of what appears to be a Google ride-sharing app that is currently being used by Google employees.'
The article is subtitled 'The two companies are going to war over self-driving taxis', which was my first thought even before I read the subtitle.
If driverless cars can be mass-produced at a reasonable cost in the future, most people in urban areas will have no need to own a vehicle. It won't make sense to own a vehicle capable of driving itself when it sits in a parking spot 20+ hours per day. It will be less expensive and more convenient to use a service like Uber.
If Uber continues to grow and dominate the taxi/ride-hailing industry, they would be a huge (if not the largest) purchaser of driverless cars. Google does not want a single customer with that much purchasing power to influence the market for driverless cars. Perhaps this move is all about influencing a more competitive market for driverless cars in the future.