Uber CEO Travis Kalanick is putting out a book soon, in which he goes over the tale of his rejected proposal of a self-driving partnership that was given to Tesla CEO Elon Musk. The proposal apparently came last year, after Apple started investing in Chinese ride sharing entity Didi Chuxing for self-driving car research. Since Didi Chuxing was already hard at work pushing Uber out of China, Kalanick decided to try to get some help advancing self-driving solutions which would help Uber in the race to commercialize this emerging technology. Kalanick says that the Tesla CEO essentially told him to stick to what Uber does best, at the risk of botching a move into the autonomous vehicle arena. Kalanick says that conversation tipped him off to the fact that Tesla was going to compete in that market as well.
Not too long after that rejection, Musk's ten-year plan for Tesla surfaced, and contained calls for the company to double down on self-driving technology, and even launch a ride-hailing service, among other things. Essentially, Tesla planned to invest in the same tech on which Uber wanted to collaborate. This positioned the company as a direct competitor to Uber. The ride-sharing giant is currently in hot water with Alphabet over its self-driving tech, and it has dealt a serious blow to the growth of that department. It's been said that Uber could be facing irrelevance if it's not ready when the autonomous vehicle revolution comes knocking, so the denial of a partnership with Tesla, combined with legal troubles with Alphabet, may severely hurt the company in the coming years.
Regardless, Kalanick isn't giving up on self-driving tech. Despite the ongoing legal battle and data showing that Uber's autonomous automobiles are far from the best on the market at the moment, the firm plans to continue developing the technology. The company's testing of autonomous cars was suspended following a serious crash in Arizona earlier this year, though the program was continued shortly after that incident. Time will tell whether Uber manages to commercialize autonomous vehicles, but an update on its efforts to do so should follow soon.