Kalanick pitched Musk on teaming up against Apple, according to Wild Ride, a book by Fortune magazine’s Adam Lashinsky scheduled for release next week. “I said, ‘Look man, we should partner,’” Kalanick recalled in the book. “Elon spent the rest of the call convincing me that it’s too far out, and it’s not realistic, that I should just stick to what we do best and be focused, or I’m going to f--- it all up. That’s when I knew Tesla was competing.” At the time, Tesla was rolling out the semi-autonomous driving system Autopilot to its vehicles, and work was already underway within Uber on its own self-driving technology. As Musk was playing coy with Kalanick, one of the Uber CEO’s top deputies learned from a Tesla executive that autonomous cars were a top priority for the carmaker, Kalanick said in the book. Days after the call, Musk put out a 10-year plan for Tesla.
Elon is smart guy and knows that Tesla can create their own ride-sharing network without help from Uber, thus Tesla doesn't need Uber. Uber though needs access to driverless cars, and with Tesla far in the lead, Uber is thus in need of Tesla's help/partnership. But the ride-sharing market is too large for Tesla to just become a hardware supplier. Tesla wants to own their own network. Uber now is left with developing their own self-driving tech/hardware and trying to find a manufacturer who will integrate it. This is similar to Waymo's strategy as well. The problem is development cycles are slow for auto manufacturers, so Tesla has the advantage. Tesla is on 2.0 of Autopilot, and is likely already planning for 3.0 Autopilot hardware as well. By the time Waymo and Uber release their first version, Tesla will likely already have their 3.0 version out, and will only be increasing their lead. I give credit to Elon for being a smart cookie and not partnering w/Uber though it could have been tempting.