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Google Is ‘5,000 Times Better’ Than Uber at Self-Driving Cars

Waymo and Uber's Legal Battle Intensifies
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Uber’s self-driving car pilot program hasn’t had the most impressive track record — and Waymo, Google’s autonomous vehicle division, has just added some insult to that injury.

For those who have been following Uber’s endeavors in California, they might remember that Uber’s self-driving cars had to be taken over by human drivers just about every mile for various reasons. In comparison, Waymo’s self-driving cars only required actual human intervention once every 5,128 miles, according to new statistics released by the California Department of Motor Vehicles. To put that in perspective, Google is “5,000 times better than Uber at autonomous driving,” according to Richard Windsor, an Edison Investment Research analyst.

In a way, that’s more indicative of how much experience Waymo has over Uber. The ridesharing company’s self-driving vehicles were able to clock about 20,000 in California before it was temporarily kicked out of the state. Waymo’s autonomous vehicles, on the other hand, drove about 635,000 on California roads in 2016 alone, according to the DMV statistics. That doesn’t completely excuse Uber, however. Nissan has only 4,099 miles of self-driving car testing since 2015 — and its vehicles only had to be taken over by human drivers once every 146 miles.

That doesn’t bode well for Uber’s dream of relying on its self-driving car endeavors, especially considering that the company’s CEO said this last year: “If we are not tied for first, the person who is in first, or the entity that’s in first, then rolls out a ride-sharing network that is far cheaper or far higher-quality than Uber’s, then Uber is no longer a thing,” Travis Kalanick told Business Insider.

Notably, Uber is currently in the midst of a legal battle with Waymo, too. Google is asking for a complete stop to Uber’s autonomous vehicle operations, alleging that Uber had stolen intellectual property from its own self-driving car initiative.

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