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Posts Tagged ‘Uber news’

More Headaches for Uber as Autonomous Vehicle Crashes

Ride-share service suspends program; sexual harassment concerns escalate.

by on Mar.27, 2017

An Uber autonomous prototype rolled on its side following a crash in Tempe, Arizona.

Ride-sharing giant Uber has suspended its autonomous vehicle pilot program in the wake of a crash involving one of its modified Volvo XC90 SUVs.

It comes as the latest setback for Uber, which has begun a search for a new management team to help address a series of embarrassments including numerous claims of sexual harassment, as well as a video showing its founder and CEO Travis Kalanick berating one of the company’s drivers over pay concerns.

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“We are continuing to look into this incident,” an Uber spokesperson said of the Saturday multi-vehicle crash in Tempe, Arizona that resulted in the Uber SUV rolling onto its side. “There were no serious injuries,” according to Uber, though two Uber “safety” operators were in the front seats.

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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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Another Day, Another Smack for Uber — President Resigns

After company announces plans to add COO, president decides to go.

by on Mar.20, 2017

Another tough day for Uber CEO Travis Kalanick as the company's recently hired president, Jeff Jones, resigned.

The old adage says when it rains, it pours and if you’re Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, it must feel like a hurricane is swirling around your office. The San Francisco-based ride services company suffered another setback over the weekend as Jeff Jones, the company’s recently hired president, resigned.

His departure is just the latest in snafus that have plagued the company, harming its perception with consumers and investors alike. Ironically, Jones, who came over after a stint at mega-retailer Target, came on board to improve Uber’s reputation.

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He quit less than seven months after he joined the company. The reasons for his departure weren’t immediately announced; however, in an email to employees Kalanick praised Jones for his work and dropped a pretty big hint as to why Jones left. (more…)

Uber Pushes for Arbitration in Intellectual Property Suit with Waymo

Move keeps sensitive information out of public eye.

by on Mar.17, 2017

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has his hands full these days, including the latest legal action.

Uber will try and force arbitration rather a face a trial court over charges that it has stolen intellectual property and proprietary technology from Waymo, Alphabet Inc.’s self-driving car subsidiary, which has taken a prominent role in the development of autonomous vehicles.

Arturo Gonzalez, the prominent San Francisco trial lawyer representing Uber, told a federal judge that he planned to file a petition demanding arbitration of Waymo’s claims of trade secrets theft.

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Arbitration, a legal procedure that side steps open court, allows a third party to review the evidence and decide the case rather than a judge. It’s also less drawn out than a trial and usually less expensive but both sides must agree on the person, often a retired judge, who will serve as the arbitrator in the case. (more…)

Uber CEO Seeking “Leadership Help” After Tantrum

“I must fundamentally change…and grow up,” says Kalanick.

by on Mar.01, 2017

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick is apologizing after an angry spat with one of his drivers.

In the latest crisis to hammer the giant ride-sharing service, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick says he need “leadership help” in the wake of a confrontation with one of the company’s drivers.

Uber has seen a wave of customer defections in recent weeks, as a result of a series of issues, including sexual harassment claims. Kalanick, who has often feuded with critics, touched off a new storm this week as a dashboard video surfaced showing him engaged in a heated argument with an Uber driver who had complained about a cut in the fees he was receiving.

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“Some people don’t like to take responsibility for their own (problems),” Kalanick says in the video, which was published by the Bloomberg news service. “They blame everything in their life on somebody else. Good luck!” he shouted as he slammed the vehicle’s door.

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Things Go From Bad to Worse for Uber

New engineering chief out over his own sexual harassment charges.

by on Feb.28, 2017

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick is facing an mounting list of problems that are beginning to concern investors.

Already under fire over allegations of sexual harassment facing its female employees, things continue to get worse for American car-sharing giant Uber.

The company’s recently hired engineering chief has been forced out by Uber CEO Travis Kalanick. According to reports, Amit Singhal was asked to leave after Uber learned he had faced a “credible” charge of harassment during his previous post as an executive at Google.

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“Harassment is unacceptable in any setting. I certainly want everyone to know that I do not condone and have not committed such behavior,” Singhal said in a statement. “In my 20-year career, I’ve never been accused of anything like this before and the decision to leave Google was my own.” (more…)

Waymo Sues Uber for Theft of Intellectual Property

Uber's problems continue with suit.

by on Feb.24, 2017

Waymo's new LiDAR sensors have dropped in price 90% but still cost around $8,000 each.

With the company already under fire for tolerating blatant sexism and its take no prisoners internal culture, Uber was jolted again this week when Google’s self-driving car subsidiary, Waymo, filed suit in U.S. District Court, charging the ride-hailing service with stealing key intellectual property.

The Waymo legal complaint and subsequent blog post on the company’s web site outlines in dramatic fashion allegations that Uber used the $680 million acquisition last summer of a Silicon Valley start-up company called Otto, which was founded by a former Google employee, to pull off the theft.

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Uber, which only this week brought in former Attorney General Eric Holder, to investigate the company’s problems with sexism, was slow to respond to the Waymo charges. (more…)

Uber Hires Former US Attorney General Holder for Sex Harassment Investigation

Ride-sharing service facing new boycott threat.

by on Feb.21, 2017

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick called for an expedited investigation of sexual harassment charges by a former engineer at the company.

Facing new calls for a boycott in the face of sexual harassment charges, Uber has hired former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to conduct an “urgent investigation” of charges leveled against the company by former engineer Susan Fowler Rigetti.

Over the weekend, Rigetti posted a blog, titled “Reflecting On One Very, Very Strange Year At Uber,” alleging a climate at Uber that not only discouraged female engineers but showed no interest in pursuing their complaints and concerns through the corporate human resources department.

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The widely reported post came in the wake of a series of other embarrassing setbacks for Uber, including a brief boycott that resulted in thousands of the service’s users deleting their smartphone apps to protest connections between Uber CEO Travis Kalanick and President Donald Trump. New calls for a boycott, using the #DeleteUber hashtag, have emerged since Rigetti’s post began to go viral. (more…)

Uber CEO Quits Trump Business Advisory Panel

CEO Travis Kalanick bows to pressure amidst travel ban protests.

by on Feb.03, 2017

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick moves to soften criticism of the ride-sharing's ties to Trump.

Already reeling from a threatened boycott against his company, as well as mounting internal opposition, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has resigned from President Donald Trump’s economic advisory panel.

The move was linked to the new administration’s controversial Executive Order on travel and immigration that critics have denounced as a “Muslim Ban.” That triggered a wave of protests across the U.S., as well as attacks on Uber which, some critics claimed, was lending its support to the new president.

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“Joining the group was not meant to be an endorsement of the president or his agenda but unfortunately it has been misinterpreted to be exactly that,” Kalanick reportedly advised his staff in an e-mail.

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Even Ride-Sharing Battle Takes Unexpected Political Turn

Lyft donates $1 mil to ACLU; Uber takes heat on several fronts.

by on Jan.30, 2017

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick may be in hot water with Trump supporters and opponents after this weekend.

In a surprisingly contentious week in the United States, capped by nationwide protests over the U.S. immigration and travel ban, even business has taken on an unexpectedly political tone. That includes the fast-emerging ride-sharing business.

Uber and its and CEO Travis Kalanick took criticism from some Trump opponents after the ride-sharing company’s founder agreed to serve on the new president’s economic advisory council. But the heat was turned up after some accused the San Francisco company of trying to take advantage of a boycott of New York’s JFK Airport by competing taxi drivers. Chief rival Lyft, meanwhile, is stirring things up among Pres. Trump’s supporters for its weekend donation of $1 million to the American Civil Liberties Union.

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The line between the two companies is not as distinct as it might seem, however. But, if anything, Uber could find itself in hot water with both the president’s critics, as well as his supporters. (more…)