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Uber is in talks to add Waymo's self-driving cars to its network, CEO says

  • Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said that Uber's relationship with Alphabet-owned Google was improving and that Uber was "having discussions" with Waymo.
  • Asked by Recode's Kara Swisher about what those discussions entailed, he said: "About putting them onto our network."
  • His comments follow a grueling legal battle with Waymo over allegations that Uber stole trade secrets from the firm related to its autonomous driving technology.

Uber is in discussions with Alphabet's Waymo to add the latter's self-driving cars to its platform, Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi said Wednesday.

Speaking at the Code Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, California, Khosrowshahi said that Uber's relationship with Alphabet-owned Google was improving and that Uber was "having discussions" with Waymo.

"You build relationships slowly but surely," he said. "I have a long relationship with Google and I think we have a trust level and we're having discussions with Waymo. If something happens great, if not we can live with that too."

Asked by Recode's Kara Swisher about what those discussions entailed, he said: "About putting them onto our network."

Khosrowshahi added: "They are an incredible technology provider out there — they're building, they're serious about autonomous to the extent that that technology could show up on our network, it's a good thing. Now it's up to them whether they want to do it or not."

His comments follow a grueling legal battle with Waymo over allegations that Uber stole trade secrets from the firm related to its autonomous driving technology. That lawsuit was settled earlier this year, and Uber paid out a 0.34 percent equity stake to Waymo.

The race towards developing driverless cars has become fiercely competitive, with multiple players aiming to be involved.

Tech giants such as Apple, Samsung and Tesla — as well as Uber and Waymo — are all pursuing the technology, while established automakers like Volkswagen and Nissan have their own driverless ambitions.

Chinese tech firms are also pushing for self-driving cars. Didi Chuxing, which bought Uber's Chinese unit in 2016, was recently given a permit to test self-driving cars in California.

But these driverless ambitions are facing significant hurdles. High-profile fatal accidents involving self-driving vehicles made by Uber and Tesla have heightened safety concerns.

Notably in March, one of Uber's self-driving cars hit and killed a woman in Tempe, Arizona. The firm ended driverless operations in the state following the tragic incident.

Speaking about that incident, Khosrowshahi said: "We've got to get back on the road, but we have to be absolutely satisfied that we're getting back on the road in the safest manner possible. That's my focus right now."