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Uber Posts Positive Q1 Earnings After Tough 2017

Shuttering of Arizona ops stings as Waymo, Lyft take off.

by on May.24, 2018

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has made an impact on the company in the short time he's been there.

After nearly a year of problems and attempts to rectify them, including the addition of a new CEO, Uber Technologies’ first quarter results reveal some of the positive impact of changes implemented across the ride-sharing company.

Uber reported net income of $2.5 billion on gross bookings of $11.29 billion, an increase of 55% compared with the year-ago period. The company’s net revenue grew 67% to $2.5 billion.

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Much of the company’s positive results can be attributed to the changes implemented by new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi and two significant transactions: the sale of GrabTaxi Holdings Pte Ltd. and a joint venture with Yandex N.V. (more…)

Apple’s Mysterious Autonomous Vehicle Program is Rapidly Expanding

Records show permits for more than 55 self-driving cars.

by on May.16, 2018

CEO Tim Cook has finally begun to offer some hints as to Apple's self-driving car program.

While Apple has yet to say much about its long-rumored car program, some intriguing information has come out thanks to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, the DMV revealing that the tech giant now has permits to test up to 55 self-driving vehicles in the state.

That would actually give Apple the ability to test even more vehicles than Waymo, the Google spinoff that has been far more open about its own autonomous ambitions – though less than General Motors, its San Francisco-based Cruise Automotive now holding permits for 104 test vehicles.

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And the DMV report does not cover other states where Apple might be testing, notably Nevada and Arizona, the two Southwest states that have positioned themselves as particularly friendly to autonomous vehicle researchers. Waymo, for example, is known to be running large fleet tests that may run into the hundreds of vehicles in Arizona, including both autonomous models requiring human backup “operators” and the first of its completely driverless prototypes. (more…)

Aptiv Starts Self-Driving Experiment in Las Vegas

Company looking to build on 400 rides given at CES.

by on May.04, 2018

Aptiv is partnering with Lyft to test a fleet of self-driving cars in Las Vegas.

Aptiv, the company created by Delphi Technologies to focus on new mobility market, smart vehicle architectures and connected cars to connected cities, has launched a fleet of 30 autonomous vehicles in Las Vegas as part of the Lyft network.

The vehicles will operate on Aptiv’s fully integrated autonomous driving platform in 30 specially equipped BMWs.

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The autonomous cars will be made available starting this week to the public in partnership with Lyft. On an opt-in basis, passengers will have the ability to hail a self-driving vehicle equipped with Aptiv technology to and from high-demand locations. including the crowded Las Vegas strip. (more…)

More Than 100 Uber Drivers Accused of Sex Crimes

CNN found problem not limited to Uber, Lyft has issues too.

by on May.01, 2018

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said the company is looking to make riders feel safer.

For much of the eight years of its existence, Uber has billed itself as a safe alternative for drivers who can’t, don’t want to or shouldn’t be behind the wheel.

How safe is Uber is really in question now that it has been revealed by CNN that 103 Uber riders have accused drivers of sexually assault or abuse in the last four years. Some of the cases that have been successfully prosecuted have seen drivers go to jail for 80 years.

The result of the one trial and other actions are of little solace to the victims. (more…)

Magna, Lyft Pairing Up to Develop Self-Driving Technology

Magna takes $200 million equity stake in Lyft.

by on Mar.15, 2018

Lyft and Magna are partnering up to develop self-driving vehicle technologies.

Magna is purchasing a $200 million equity stake in ride-sharing behemoth Lyft as part of a multi-year plan to develop a self-driving vehicle platform together.

The collaboration calls for the two companies to jointly fund, develop and manufacture self-driving systems. The establishment of this partnership subject to regulatory approval. This partnership positions Magna and Lyft to enable the development and manufacturing of self-driving systems at scale.

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In addition to self-driving vehicles that will be deployed on Lyft’s own ride-sharing network in the coming years, Magna can deploy the technologies across a wide range of uses to benefit the entire global mobility ecosystem. (more…)

California Okays Testing of Completely Driverless Vehicles

“Lives will be at stake,” warns consumer group.

by on Feb.27, 2018

Waymo is already testing autonomous ride-sharing vehicles and will soon add fully driverless ones.

Barely a week after Arizona regulators authorized Waymo to begin a drive-sharing service that will depend on completely driverless vehicles, California has given the green light to companies like the Google spinoff to begin operating driverless vehicles on its roads, as well.

But, for the moment at least, the Golden State is only authorizing companies like Google, Uber and General Motors to simply test vehicles that have no backup drivers onboard. It is not clear if or when it will allow them to begin commercial operation.

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Proponents say such tests are critical to prove the technology can operate safely and seamlessly on the same roads as human drivers, but not everyone is convinced the time is right. “It will be just like playing a video game, except lives will be at stake, said John Simpson, director of California-based non-profit group Consumer Watchdog. (more…)

Uber Settles With Waymo for $245 Million

Company says it "regrets" the issue; promises to use only Uber technology.

by on Feb.09, 2018

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi continues to rehabilitate the company's image.

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi continues to knock down the roadblocks to the ride-sharing company’s progress as the company settled a long-running dispute with rival Waymo over trade secrets.

The company paid $245 million of its own stock to Waymo, the spinoff of Google’s autonomous vehicle business, and an agreement to not use any Waymo-based technology in its development of self-driving vehicles, according to a Reuters report.

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The settlement came as the two sides were about to begin a fifth day in court over the dispute, which has been costing Uber time and money as it looks to rehabilitate its reputation on multiple fronts. (more…)

Taking Uber to Work Cheaper than Driving Yourself

Study shows in some markets ride-sharing costs less for daily commute.

by on Feb.05, 2018

A new study suggests that it's cheaper to Uber to and from work than to drive your own car.

A new study suggests that in some major metropolitan area, among them Los Angeles, Chicago and Detroit, it’s cheaper to drive to work using Uber than it is to drive a personal automobile.

Aside from the cost of a trip on Uber or Uber Pool, which varies from region to region, insurance and parking are the key factors in driving up the cost of commuting driving 10.4 miles-one way to work, according to the study from NerdWallet.

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“NerdWallet examined data from a variety of sources to compare the cost of commuting each week via ridesharing service Uber vs. a personal vehicle in the 20 largest U.S. metropolitan areas by population, to see if owning a vehicle for work is cost-effective. (more…)

More Americans Willing to Trust Self-Driving Vehicles, Finds AAA Study

But “deep divides” still exist.

by on Jan.24, 2018

General Motors petitioned NHTSA to begin testing as many as 2,500 autonomous Chevy Bolts annually on public roads.

Waymo, Uber and Lyft have all begun testing autonomous ride-sharing vehicles and the Google spinoff plans to field a small number of completely driverless models this year. General Motors, meanwhile, plans to start building a version of its Chevrolet Bolt EV, sans steering wheel and pedals, next year that could be used by Maven, its own sharing service.

While the development of self-driving technology is moving faster than many proponents predicted just a few years ago, the auto and ride-sharing industries face several potential roadblocks, including state and federal restrictions as well as the uncertainty of how consumers will respond. But a new survey by AAA released Wednesday finds that Americans are rapidly becoming more comfortable with the ideas of not only taking their hands off the wheel, but also having no wheel in the car at all.

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“Americans are starting to feel more comfortable with the idea of self-driving vehicles,” said AAA Automotive Engineering and Industry Relations Director Greg Brannon. “Compared to just a year ago, AAA found that 20 million more U.S. drivers would trust a self-driving vehicle to take them for a ride.” (more…)

GM Asks Feds to OK 2019 Launch of Driverless Robo-Cabs

Automaker aims to put as many as 2,500 on the road annually during test program.

by on Jan.12, 2018

GM will use an updated version of this Chevrolet Bolt EV - sans steering wheel and pedals - for the robo-cab test program.

General Motors wants permission from federal regulators to begin testing driverless robo-cabs on public roads, starting in 2019, a move that could position the Detroit automaker as one of the leaders in the development of autonomous vehicle technology.

Company officials said they would roll out as many as 25 vehicles annually under the pilot project, if given approval from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. GM ultimately hopes to provide the vehicles to ride-sharing services such as Lyft – in which it is a major investor – as well as its own service, Maven.

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Unlike the autonomous prototypes GM and many competitors are currently testing, the vehicles would be completely driverless and not even be equipped with pedals or a steering wheel. That is something the automaker’s President Dan Ammann called “a major milestone, adding that, “this technology will have a huge impact on the world.”

(more…)