If Uber Technologies Inc. ever collapses, historians may trace its undoing not to its troubles with labor relations, intellectual property, regulatory conflicts or sexual-harassment allegations, but to technological disruption.
This would be the same technological disruption the company itself pledged to use to upend the auto industry and the $2 trillion a year tied to it.
Less than a year ago, Uber Chief Executive Travis Kalanick described self-driving cars as an “existential” threat to his company, saying that his team must get the technology to market before competitors do, or at least at around the same time. Self-driving vehicles would ultimately be much cheaper to operate than ones requiring human drivers—robots work tirelessly and don’t demand raises. The first companies to roll out fleets of automated taxis could quickly drive their human-powered competition into oblivion.