Remember the days when Tesla represented a bold new vision through electric cars? It still does make those vehicles, but to keep its tech mojo as a company to watch, Tesla has branched out to become one of the leading autonomous vehicles developers. In the process, the company has moved into the territory of Uber and found a new rival.
Interestingly, Uber’s path is similar to Tesla’s, even if the companies differ in what they offer. The ride-sharing giant started as the hip new company (like Tesla), before exploding to a valuation of more than $60 billion. Uber is the startup made good, and is the new talk of the tech and business town. Like Tesla, the company has also started making inroads towards the autonomous market.
Unlike the carmaker, Uber has no designs on building its own self-driving vehicles. Instead, the company wants a fleet of cars (produced by other manufacturers) to conduct its ride-sharing services in the future.
Despite the similarities, it seems Tesla and Uber have some significant differences too. For example, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has expressed doubt that autonomous ride-sharing is the future. Indeed, he does not think Uber is necessarily the future of the automobile.
It is important to know that Uber is trying to change the idea of car ownership. The company envisions a future where customers can simply Uber themselves everywhere and may never actually need their own car. Instead, they may well just share one.
Tesla does not subscribe to this idea, especially Musk, who believes that car ownership is something hat will remain a strong part of our material identity. Simply put, Musk thinks we will continue to own cars for the same reasons we do today, even if options have expanded.
What Musk cannot ignore is the $60 billion company with a different vision. Uber is arguably fortunate that even if its car-sharing aspirations fail to materialize, it will remain a huge company off the back of its glorified taxi services.