In pursuit of developing its own self-driving cars network, Google is planning to develop an autonomous ride-sharing network to compete with Uber and Lyft. The company has recently filed a patent application that could be an alternate to Uber. In the last few years, Google has rolled out a lot of self-driving cars but there has been no commercial use of these vehicles.
The application of Google’s autonomous ride-sharing network has been first published by Patent Yogi, according to which, the ride-sharing app will determine pickups and destination locations for autonomous cars.
However, for Google, the company wants to operate fully autonomous cars where passengers will have to provide some initial input, such as a pick-up or destination location, and the vehicle maneuvers itself to that location.
With this concept, the Silicon Valley giant aims to change the taxi business by replacing the drivers in the near future. At the same time, Uber doesn’t want to lag behind and the company is also betting on self-driving cars, for which they have collaborated with Carnegie Mellon to support research in the development of self-driving cars.
But for Google right now, the key challenge is to address the application patent. When provided with a location, Google says a centralized dispatching system would provide a set of suggested locations for safe pick-ups, waiting, or drop-offs.
These suggested locations may include those provided by the user and convenient nearby locations. As such, the patented technology increases the “availability, safety, and usefulness of the services of autonomous vehicles,” Google’s application reads.
Google’s self-driving fleet, operated under its Waymo brand, is still in the testing phase. Also, the company is planning to deploy its newly developed self-driving Chrysler Pacifica minivans in Mountain View and Phoenix at the end of January.
Rumor has it that Waymo and Chrysler will eventually launch its own autonomous ride-sharing service to compete with the likes of Uber and Lyft, possibly by utilizing Google’s Waze traffic data and mapping service. Indeed, during his remarks at the Detroit auto show last week, Waymo CEO John Krafcik said the company was eyeing a number of products, including ride-hailing, logistics, personal transportation, and last-mile solutions.
Reportedly, Google plans to start small by deploying its multi-sized autonomous fleet in confined areas like college campuses, military bases, and corporate office parks. This is smart; because it would likely help Google get additional miles under its belt before rolling out its self-driving cars onto city streets.