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Self-Driving Cars From Google Could Take On Taxis

By raccars Published

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There may be a new competitor in the taxi market once tech giant Google gets its self-driving cars onto the streets, according to TechRadar. And with years of development and vast amounts of cash pumped into these autonomous vehicles, even Uber could be given a run for its money.

Bloomberg reports that Google is looking into the concept of launching a service that allows people to hire driverless cars to pick them up, all from within a smartphone app. This would mean that the traditional taxi driver would be rendered obsolete and the cars could work round the clock to ferry passengers from A to B.

Interestingly, it looks like Google may be creating a rival for notorious taxi-tackling service, Uber, in spite of the fact that it has actually invested money in this company. But even if it shoots itself in the foot a bit with its self-driving car hire service, there will doubtlessly be big profits to be made down the line to balance this out.

Google is not the only company working on self-driving cars; Uber itself is currently putting big money into similar research over in the US. And although this will clearly create some tension as drivers are put out of work, the implications for passengers are potentially huge.

In the UK, legislation to allow the use of driverless cars on the roads has come in for review early this year, meaning vehicles that do not have a human behind the wheel could go on sale before the end of the decade.

Using high end electronics and GPS for navigation, driverless cars are claimed to be more efficient and safer than any vehicle which is under the control of a person. And while people may not buy them in large numbers for many years, hiring one as an alternative to a taxi for a short distance ride may be the next best thing.

Of course, criticisms of current self-drive systems are rife and even companies like Google are having trouble accounting for common environmental hazards, like potholes and even rain. This means there are lots of technical hurdles to overcome before driverless tech replaces the cars people own or the taxis in which they book a ride.

A clearer picture of what shape the automotive market will take should emerge as competition in this industry increases. And at the moment, it seems like Google is leading the pack.

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