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Posts Tagged ‘Uber’

Are Privately Owned Cars Set to Vanish?

“Historic revolution” could see 95% of motorists turn to driverless, shared EVs.

by on May.04, 2017

Waymo is now offering to let the public check out its autonomous vehicles in Phoenix.

When Waymo, the autonomous vehicle spin-off of Google began offering to let Phoenix-area families try out its vehicle service last month it touched off what a new study is calling “a historic revolution in transportation.”

While the number of Americans using all forms of ride-sharing – autonomous or otherwise – is currently quite small, RethinkX, an independent think tank that looks at the impact of new technology says it will grow rapidly. By 2030, it predicts in its new report, 95% of the miles traveled in the U.S. will be in self-driving, shared electric vehicles.

We Track the Changes!

That’s a far more rapid transition than others have been predicting. A recent report by the Boston Consulting Group delivered a shock to many by forecasting 25% of U.S. miles would be driven in shared, driverless, electric vehicles by 2030. But “it’s time to adjust our thinking,” said Tony Seba, a co-author of the RethinkX study, “Rethinking Transportation 2020-2030: The Disruption of Transportation and the Collapse of the ICE Vehicle and Oil Industries.”

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Uber’s Autonomous Cars Heading Back to California

Chastened ride-sharing service stops “greyballing.”

by on Mar.09, 2017

After facing legal threats, Uber removed its San Francisco test fleet last December.

Hammered for months over a variety of ethical and legal slips – as well as its poor financial numbers – ride-sharing giant Uber appears to be taking steps to soften its macho corporate image while also being more cooperative with regulators.

Forced out of San Francisco last December after refusing to get the requisite state permit for its autonomous vehicle test drive program, Uber is now ready to return to California after having filed the necessary paperwork. Meanwhile, the company now says it will stop “greyballing,” a process it developed to make it more difficult for regulators in cities ranging from Boston to Paris.

Breaking News!

But Uber still faces a variety of other challenges. It has hired former U.S. Attorney-General Eric Holder, for one thing, to handle a probe of sexual harassment within the mostly male company. And Uber CEO has said he plans to seek “leadership help,” after being caught on a dashboard cam raging at one of the company’s drivers who had questioned corporate payment policies. Such issues have been playing into the hands of critics and competitors – including Lyft, which last week announced a new $500 million fundraising bid.

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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’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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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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Google Heats Up Car-Sharing Battle

High-tech firm could challenge Uber as it ramps up carpooling project.

by on Aug.31, 2016

Commuters in the San Francisco Bay Area will now be able to use Waze to carpool.

Everyone, it seems, wants to get into the car-sharing business, even as Uber, the emerging industry’s leader, reportedly lost more than $1 billion for the first half of the year.

Google is the latest player to toss its car keys into the ring. The high-tech firm began a limited test in May of a carpooling project in its home base in the San Francisco Bay Area. It is expanding that venture, which relies on Google’s Waze smartphone app.

We'll Do the Driving!

While not a direct competitor to Uber or its smaller rival Lyft, the carpooling project could create a future outlet for Google as it pushes forward with its aggressive autonomous vehicle development program, some observers suggest.

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Bigger Isn’t Better When it Comes to Uber Profits

Report estimates leading ride-share service lost $1.3 billion.

by on Aug.26, 2016

A subscriber orders a car through the Uber app.

It may be the nation’s leading ride-sharing service, but that hasn’t helped Uber deliver a profit.

The Silicon Valley start-up lost a hefty $1.3 billion during the first half of the year, according to a report by the Bloomberg news service which cited sources with access to a conference call the company had with its investors.

Come Along for the Ride!

According to the report, Uber finance chief revealed that the ride-sharing service went $520 million into the red during the first quarter of the year, with another $750 million loss racked up during the April-June quarter.

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GM Reportedly Wants to Buy Lyft

Ride service tells automaker to take a hike.

by on Aug.15, 2016

GM CEO Dan Ammann (c), recently took a seat on the Lyft board of directors.

Ride-sharing service Lyft has rejected a takeover bid from General Motors, according to Silicon Valley news site The Information.

The move would have turned the country’s biggest automaker into an even bigger player in the fast-growing field of alternative mobility. GM already holds a 9% stake in Lyft and also owns San Francisco based competitor Sidecar. It has also dipped its toes into the world of car-sharing, as well.

Come Along for the Ride!

Neither GM nor Lyft will comment on the report by The Information and a second Silicon Valley news service. But sources reportedly include a “person briefed on the situation,” and comes a year after Lyft went looking for a possible buyer.

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