Uber is still focusing on supporting transportation by human drivers for now, even with CEO Travis Kalanick's support of Google's recently announced self-driving vehicles.
"I think that the world today is that cars need to be driven by people," Kalanick told CNBC on Wednesday. Earlier he had said at Re/code's Code Conference that Uber would eventually shift toward driverless cars. Kalanick said that Uber has a "very good relationship with Google" and that they "have a lot of conversations going." But he said acquisition by the Internet conglomerate was not on the radar.
Uber takes about 20 percent of what its drivers make, which can average $90,000 a year in New York City. "Making sure that those people who are providing that service have a quality income that is better than their competitors is absolutely imperative for Uber to continue to grow," Kalanick said. "The drivers we partner with—essentially they run their own businesses."
Regarding another aspect of growth, the announcement at the conference on Wednesday that Uber would partner with AT&T is just part of the smartphone-driven car service company's plan to expand from cities as small as 90,000 people to possibly even smaller cities of 30,000, Kalanick said. "The bigger picture is that Uber is wiring cities up," he said.