Kalanick: I love self-driving cars because I can fire Uber drivers. Audience member: “Don’t be a dick”
Speaking at Kara Swisher’s CODE conference a few minutes ago, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick answered a question about how his company feels about self-driving cars. That answer should probably have Uber drivers rushing to Lyft, resumes in hand…
“I love [self driving cars] all day long,” he said. “The Uber experience is expensive because it’s not just the car but the other dude in the car. When there’s no other dude in the car, the cost [of taking an Uber] gets cheaper than owning a vehicle.”
When an audience member asked how drivers might feel about his dream of making them all redundant, he responded:
“I would say to them this is the way the world is going… We have to find a way to change with the world.”
The exchange wasn’t the first time an audience member had to ask the tough questions that Swisher appeared too cowed to ask (perhaps because she’s reportedly writing a profile on Kalanick for Vanity Fair.) Another attendee called out Uber for taking a whopping 10% commission on surge pricing payments, despite saying those payments were designed to encourage drivers onto the road.
“You’re at war [for customers],” the audience member said. “Don’t be a dick.”
Kalanack took issue with the criticism, though. “It’s 20%” he clarified.