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Posts Tagged ‘uber autonomous’

Waymo Invites Public to Join Autonomous Test Program

First public test for Google’s self-driving vehicle spin-off is good news for FCA, as well.

by on Apr.25, 2017

One of the first Phoenix families to join the Waymo pilot climbs into an autonomous Chrysler Pacifica.

After eight years of testing Waymo is ready to go public, Google’s autonomous vehicle spin-off offering families in the Phoenix area the chance to try out its self-driving cars as part of a new pilot ride-sharing program.

The move brings the technology a step closer to becoming a day-to-day reality and coincides with efforts by other entrants into the fast-emerging field who are rapidly expanding the number of autonomous vehicles now on public roads. The pilot program could cement Waymo’s position as a leader in the technology while also giving a big boost to Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, the automaker that will now provide another 500 Pacifica plug-in hybrid minivans for use in the Arizona project.

We'll Do the Driving!

Waymo quietly began offering rides to a “handful of Phoenix, AZ residents…over the last month,” the Alphabet subsidiary’s CEO John Krafcik revealed in a statement issued overnight. “Now residents in the Phoenix area can apply” to join the trial, Waymo planning on “accepting hundreds of people with diverse backgrounds and transportation needs who want to ride and give feedback about Waymo’s self-driving cars.”

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Uber Autonomous Vehicles Running into Big Problems

Human “operators” have to take over at least once per mile.

by on Mar.22, 2017

Uber pulled these autonomous XC90s out of San Francisco in December, but they've since returned.

As if Uber doesn’t have enough trouble with its management shake-ups, sex harassment investigations and financial issues, the ride-sharing giants autonomous vehicle program has been running into a series of serious issues.

After resolving a dispute with California regulators, Uber this month relaunched its self-driving test program in San Francisco. It also has autonomous prototypes operating in Pennsylvania and Arizona. But those vehicles can barely go a mile, it seems, without having to have their human “operators” take over control, according to Uber data.

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That’s in sharp contrast to the experience reported by Google’s Waymo autonomous vehicle unit, which recently reported a sharp decline in the number of instances where humans had to snatch control away from the onboard autopilot system.

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Sex Harassment Claim Raises More Problems for Uber

CEO Kalanick orders “urgent investigation.”

by on Feb.20, 2017

Another firestorm engulfs Uber and CEO Travisk Kalanick orders an "urgent investigation."

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has ordered an “urgent investigation” into claims raised by a female engineer who has gone public about allegedly endemic sexual harassment within the country’s largest ride-sharing service.

In an open statement, Susan Fowler Rigetti described “an organization in complete, unrelenting chaos,” alleging she was propositioned for sex on her very first day on the job, was repeatedly blocked from advancement and found Uber’s human resources department unwilling to take action on sexual harassment claims she and other female employees filed.

Breaking News!

Her blog posting, titled “Reflecting On One Very, Very Strange Year At Uber,” quickly went viral and, by Monday, had generated a response from Kalanick who said in a tweet that “What’s described here is abhorrent & against everything we believe in,” adding that “Anyone who behaves this way or thinks this is OK will be fired.”

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Uber Agrees to Pay “Duped” Drivers

Settlement covers lower earnings, higher costs.

by on Jan.20, 2017

The recruitment page on Uber's website.

Uber has agreed to pay $20 million to drivers who claim they received less pay but faced higher costs after being recruited by the ride-sharing service.

The settlement with the Federal Trade Commission is the latest in a series of legal battles for San Francisco-based Uber Technologies, the company last month ending an autonomous vehicle test project in its home town after a run-in with California over its refusal to get the necessary permits.

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The FTC settlement centers around a recruitment effort by Uber which, driver’s alleged, had promised them high pay for their services. But the government determined that only a small number of drivers operating in 18 major cities earned what the ride-sharing service had published online. It also determined that drivers were paying higher-than-promised fees to lease the vehicles they drove.

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Uber Pulls Autonomous Cars Out of San Francisco

California revokes registration of 16 Uber self-driving vehicles.

by on Dec.22, 2016

Uber has pulled its autonomous Volvos out of San Francisco after their registrations were revoked.

Uber has pulled a test fleet of autonomous Volvo XC90s off the streets of San Francisco after being told the California Department of Motor Vehicles had revoked their registrations.

The confrontation followed the car-sharing service’s decision to launch the pilot program without getting the necessary state permit – a move the DMV said 20 other companies have taken. Uber also came under fire after it became widely reported that some of its cars were failing to obey traffic laws, putting other motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists at risk.

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“We’re now looking at where we can redeploy these cars but remain 100 percent committed to California and will be redoubling our efforts to develop workable statewide rules,” Uber said in a statement.

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Uber’s Autonomous Cars Running into Trouble in San Francisco

Ride-sharing service acknowledges running lights, failing to yield to pedestrians.

by on Dec.20, 2016

The San Francisco test uses modified Volvo XC90s - one shown here on the Golden Gate Bridge.

Uber’s experiment with autonomous cars appears to be off to a star-crossed start in San Francisco, the ride-sharing service acknowledging the modified Volvo CX90s have been experiencing a “problem” or two.

That includes everything from running stop lights, failing to yield to pedestrians and crossing heavily used bike lanes. That’s on top of the legal challenge Uber is facing from the Department of Motor Vehicles for failing to acquire the permit required by California law.

Tech News!

A spokesman for Uber told Britain’s “The Guardian” that the company is racing to resolve an issue that put the city’s bicyclists and pedestrians at risk – no small issue considering there are 200 miles of bike lanes used for 82,000 daily trips in the City by the Bay.

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GM to Launch Autonomous Chevy Bolt EV Public Test

Self-driving battery car will roll off suburban Detroit assembly line.

by on Dec.16, 2016

GM CEO Mary Barra with an autonomous Bolt.

General Motors will join the growing list of automakers testing autonomous vehicles on public roads in Michigan, expanding a program that has already put 30 self-driving Chevrolet Bolt EVs on roads in San Francisco and Scottsdale, Arizona.

The new models will add the latest in sensor technology, including laser-based LIDAR, cameras and radar, and will roll off the same, Orion Township, Michigan assembly line producing the retail version of the Chevy Bolt EV. GM delivered the first retail version of the long-range battery car to three customers in California earlier this week.

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“GM will immediately begin autonomous vehicle testing on public roads in Michigan,” CEO Mary Barra announced during a news conference at the suburban Detroit plant on Thursday afternoon.

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California DMV Wants Uber to Stop Autonomous Ride-Share Venture

Company officials say they don’t need permit.

by on Dec.15, 2016

Uber could be facing a legal storm over its decision not to get the permit California requires.

Ride-sharing service Uber has been ordered by California regulators to halt the public test of autonomous vehicles until the company gets what the state claims is the necessary permit.

Uber on Wednesday began offering rides in San Francisco using specially modified versions of the Volvo XC90 SUV. Though nearly two dozen other companies have so far received permits from the California Department of Motor Vehicles, Uber officials said they are not required to get one. DMV officials have vociferously disagreed and have sent a warning to the company.

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“If Uber does not confirm immediately that it will stop its launch and seek a testing permit, DMV will initiate legal action,” DMV attorney Brian Soublet wrote in a letter to Anthony Levandowski, head of Uber’s autonomous car programs.

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Uber, Volvo Launch Autonomous Ride-Share Test in San Francisco

But pilot project is operating without a state permit, could face legal issues.

by on Dec.14, 2016

One of 11 autonomous Uber Volvo XC90s climbs a steep San Francisco hill.

Uber is expanding its autonomous vehicle pilot program to San Francisco – though the move could run afoul of California regulators since the ride-sharing service has decided not to seek a permit for the project.

Today’s launch comes three months after Uber began testing self-driving vehicles in its hometown of Pittsburgh. The company has said that it eventually wants to jump past autonomous cars and put a fleet of fully driverless vehicles on the road, something it says would lower the cost of a ride to the point where hailing an Uber would be cheaper than the cost of owning a vehicle.

We'll Keep You on Auto Pilot!

“The promise of self-driving ride sharing is becoming a reality,” said Mårten Levenstam, vice president of product planning at Volvo Cars, which is providing the vehicles being used for the San Francisco pilot. “Volvo is proud to be at the forefront of the latest developments in the automotive world alongside our partners at Uber.”

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Lyft Also Aiming to Go Driverless

Ride-sharing CEO forecasts the “Third Transportation Revolution.”

by on Sep.19, 2016

John Zimmer (r), with Lyft co-founder Logan Green (l) and GM CEO Dan Ammann, who recently took a seat on the service's board.

There’s a revolution coming, and it’s likely to bring major changes to the world of transportation over the next decade, says John Zimmer, president and co-founder of the country’s second-largest ride-sharing service, Lyft.

Like its bigger rival, Uber, San Francisco-based Lyft hopes to move the driver out of the front seat within the next five years, driving down costs and making it cheaper and easier for people to use a ride-sharing service than owning their own car.

Tech Talk!

“The good news is we don’t have to keep building our country around car ownership,” Zimmer wrote in a blog post over the weekend. Much the way you can stream music and videos, “you no longer need to own a product to enjoy its benefits,” suggested the 32-year-old entrepreneur. “Eventually we’ll look at owning a car in much the same way.”

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