Uber is beginning self-driving car service to San Francisco today, after introducing it in Pittsburgh in September. Comically evil CEO Travis Kalanick has made no secret of the fact that he plans to phase out human drivers as quickly as possible.
Interestingly, Uber is still teaming up with fellow do-gooders Goldman Sachs to peddle brutally expensive 36-month leases to increasingly desperate drivers, meaning that in all likelihood by the end of their lease cycle contractors will be forced to compete with no-doubt cheaper robotic cars.
It’s fairly clear that Uber is a fraud, using artificially low prices, illegal business practices, and outright harassment to drive competitors out of the market while courting investors for more cash. To me it looks like they’re delaying an IPO until robot cars hit the road and save their bottom line from the burden of paying human beings, at which time their name recognition and ruthlessness will make them a transportation monopoly. Meanwhile, Uber is hard at work making sure regulations won’t be an issue: Kalanick was just named (oh! the irony) to Trump’s panel on job growth, and on the other side of the aisle, Obama’s 2008 campaign manager David Plouffe is a senior advisor.