Once self-driving cars are everywhere, Uber thinks they’ll make up its entire fleet.
Speaking at Re/code’s Code conference, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick said he loves the idea of autonomous vehicles, like the one Google unveiled on Tuesday, and would happily replace his human drivers with a self-driving fleet.
“The reason Uber could be expensive is you’re paying for the other dude in the car,” Kalanick said, according to Business Insider. “When there is no other dude in the car, the cost of taking an Uber anywhere is cheaper. Even on a road trip.”
Kalanick’s comments come as Uber is engaged in a PR push over driver pay. Faced with mounting protests over workers’ wages, Uber recently said its drivers can make up to $90,000 annually, although that number doesn’t factor in costs associated with being a professional driver.
Kalanick also said that, over time, the cost of a ride would be so low that even the idea of car ownership itself might just “go away.”
That seems a bit extreme, for at least as long as we’ve got cars that let you take the wheel, and people who enjoy the act of driving. And either way, owning a car would probably still make economic sense if you drove it enough. But a company with a huge fleet of reasonably-priced, self-driving cars could do pretty well in this hypothetical future, so it’s no surprise that Kalanick and Uber are on board.