Google looks poised to challenge Uber by launching an autonomous ridesharing service in the not-too-distant future, and the tech giant's ownership of Waze could be the secret weapon in the fight. The popular navigation app has data-sharing agreements with 51 cities worldwide, and municipalities love that they can get access to the software's real-time reports of accidents and other traffic issues, according to Recode. These cozy relationships might help Google get better treatment when it comes time to introduce the driverless service.

We learned how an amicable relationship between business and government can be key to the proliferation of driverless technology when the California Department of Motor Vehicles proposed regulations banning autonomous vehicles without a driver who is able to take immediate control. Such laws would prevent fully driverless ridesharing services in the state. Waze's friendly partnerships might allow Google to work with regulators in the future to avoid these problems, according to Recode.

Google has big dreams of turning its autonomous vehicle development into a real business. The company hired former Hyundai Motor America boss John Krafcik earlier this year and grabbed a leader of Tesla's Autopilot program. The latest rumors suggest that Google could announce a tech partnership with Ford at CES in January.

Meanwhile, Uber continues to clash with policy makers around the world, which could make things more difficult at the negotiating table. Still, the ridesharing firm has its own autonomous solution in the works that could challenge Google. The company partnered with the University of Arizona to develop the tech and reportedly also tested driverless vehicles around Pittsburgh. For improved routes, Uber bought Microsoft's mapping division in 2015.

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