Uber has caused controversy with regulators and lawmakers across Canada and has not been accepted by any municipality yet. The company cannot be governed as a traditional taxi service and drawing up bylaws that either Uber accepts or taxi drivers accept has proved hard to do.
Uber’s argument from the time it launched in Ontario in 2014 has been that it is a technology company, so should not be subjected to laws set for taxi companies. It is a stance that is actually hard to argue with, simply because Uber is merely a smartphone application that connects passengers with freelance drivers, with the fee paid up front.
If any group is subject to the laws of a traditional taxi service it is the drivers and not Uber, and that is another potential problem. Simply, if drivers are forced into regulations that cost too much to pay for, or are too tough to comply with, then what will be the point of operating for Uber?
The company could be looking to fix this potential future problem and is apparently exploring seriously the idea of autonomous technology. Self-driving vehicles and Uber seem like a match made in tech heaven, a company that offers shared rides and a technology that gets the job done efficiently and does not have to deal with the same taxi-like regulations that a human driver would.
Uber has reportedly already started shopping around for a self-driving solution, but like everybody else the company will have to wait for the market to catch up. Autonomous vehicles are not road-legal yet and are unlikely to be until at least next year. It is also worth taking into account that full autonomy is not expected until 2025 at the earliest.
That means any aspirations Uber has to use self-driving technology are long term goals and the company’s current model will continue for at least a decade. However, it has already been well documented that self-driving cars are coming and 400 million people are expected to be sharing vehicles via autonomous technology by 2030.
It seems that Uber is giving itself a head start.