Self-driving cars might be the holy grail of ride-hailing companies and more so for Uber, which remains the world’s biggest ride haling company. However, according to the chief of the Uber Advanced Technologies Group (ATG), self-driving cars are not going to flood the streets just yet. Raquel Urtasun, who is the head of the ATG was speaking at an event organised by Reuters and stated that is it going to be a ‘long time’ before self-driving cars become a mainstream option. In this regard, it needs to be remembered that as a company Uber has been pretty aggressive in its quest to build self-driving cars and had even rolled out a limited number of vehicles on its ride-hailing app. However, it came to a half after a pedestrian was killed by one of those vehicles.
In this regard, it is important to point out that the whole thing is a bit of a catch 22 situation for Uber. While a fleet of self-driving cars will definitely be a huge deal when it is all set to have its initial public offering, it could also prove to be counterproductive since the possibility of a backlash against such cars could overshadow the listing. Speaking about the prospect of such cars being on the road, Urtasun said, “Self-driving cars are going to be in our lives. The question of when is not clear yet. To have it at scale is going to take a long time.”
While the ride-hailing industry claims that the service they provide will eventually reduce the number of cars on the roads, environmentally conscious activists and even investors have stated that it will probably result in the opposite. In fact, some investors have decided to stay away from Lyft IPO and will almost certainly stay away from the one by Uber. However, many ride-hailing companies have boasted about their self-driving models and the possibility of such vehicles with lower carbon emissions. It now seems that those companies are some distance away from realising their target of rolling out those vehicles. Considering the fact that Uber, the industry giant has now stated that it is going to take a long time, perhaps users can forget about ordering a self-driving taxi through the app for the near future.