Tag Archives: Uber
(Reuters) – Uber Technologies Inc [UBER.UL] Chief Product Officer Jeff Holden is leaving the ride-hailing company, an Uber spokesman told Reuters on Thursday, the latest of more than a dozen senior executives to depart since last year.
Holden oversaw Uber Elevate, the company’s flying car operation, which is now headed by Eric Allison, the spokesman said, but declined to elaborate on the reason for his departure.
New Chief Executive Officer Dara Khosrowshahi has been shaking up the company since taking over Last August aiming to improve Uber’s reputation after a string of scandals.
Uber, along with Lyft Inc, scrapped mandatory arbitration to settle sexual harassment or assault claims earlier this week, giving victims several options to pursue their claims including public lawsuits.
Uber also launched a new app for its drivers last month, in an effort to improve an often contentious relationship.
Uber’s chief legal officer, Salle Yoo, and head of external affairs Dave Clark left the company in September.
Uber is also searching for a chief financial officer who can help take the company public in 2019. The CFO position has been vacant since 2015.
The Wall Street Journal earlier reported that Holden, who was hired by former Uber Chief Executive Officer Travis Kalanick from Groupon Inc (GRPN.O), told colleagues that Thursday was his last day with the company.
Reporting by Kanishka Singh and Abinaya Vijayaraghavan in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Cooney and Gopakumar Warrier
(Reuters) – A U.S. appeals court on Friday revived a business group’s challenge to a Seattle law, the first of its kind, that would allow drivers for ride-hailing services such as Uber Technologies Inc UBER.UL and Lyft to unionise.
The San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the city did not have the power to regulate payment arrangements between companies like Uber and Lyft and their drivers.
The litigation is unfolding amid a national debate over whether workers in the “gig economy” are independent contractors, who typically cannot form unions, or employees.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which sued over the law last year and counts Uber and Lyft among its members, did not respond to a request for comment. Neither did a spokesman for the Seattle city attorney’s office.
Seattle’s law, passed in 2015, requires the city to select a union as the exclusive bargaining representative of the estimated 9,000 drivers in Seattle who work for Uber, Lyft and other services. The law was put on hold pending the outcome of the Chamber’s lawsuit.
The Chamber argued that by allowing drivers to bargain over their pay, which is based on fares received from passengers, the city would permit them to essentially fix prices in violation of federal antitrust law.
A federal judge in Seattle last year disagreed, saying the state of Washington had specifically authorized its cities to regulate the for-hire transportation industry.
But the 9th Circuit on Friday said state law allows the city to regulate rates that companies charge to passengers, but not the fees that drivers pay to companies like Uber or Lyft in exchange for ride referrals.
The court sent the case back to the judge in Seattle to reconsider the Chamber’s antitrust claim.
The city and supporters of the law, including labor unions, have said that allowing drivers to unionize would improve their working conditions, making ride-sharing services safer for passengers.
Lawyers for the city had told the 9th Circuit that in some cases, drivers were engaging in unsafe behavior such as driving on little or no sleep because they are not paid adequately.
Uber is appealing a state’s judge dismissal of a separate lawsuit the company filed challenging Seattle’s law. A third lawsuit by Uber drivers was dismissed last year.
The case is U.S. Chamber of Commerce v. City of Seattle, 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 17-35640.
Reporting by Daniel Wiessner in Albany, New York; Editing by Alexia Garamfalvi and Phil Berlowitz
CAIRO (Reuters) – Egypt’s parliament passed a law on Monday regulating ride-sharing apps Uber and Careem, potentially ending a lawsuit that could shut them down in one of their biggest markets but imposing new fees and data sharing requirements.
Legalising the increasingly popular ride-sharing services became urgent in March when an Egyptian court ordered their suspension after a group of taxi drivers filed a suit, arguing they were illegally using private cars as taxis.
Another court last month stayed that ruling, allowing U.S.-based Uber and its Dubai-based competitor Careem to continue operating while the case is appealed. A higher court is expected to hear the appeal later this week.
Uber has faced regulatory and legal setbacks around the world amid opposition from traditional taxi services. It has been forced to quit several countries, such as Denmark and Hungary.
Uber has said Egypt is its largest market in the Middle East, with 157,000 drivers in 2017 and 4 million users since its launch there in 2014.
The new law stipulates that ride-sharing companies obtain five-year renewable licences for a fee of 30 million Egyptian pounds ($ 1.71 million) and that drivers pay annual fees to obtain special licences to work with the company.
“This is a major step forward for the ride-sharing industry as Egypt becomes one of the first countries in the Middle East to pass progressive regulations,” Uber said in a statement.
“We will continue working with the prime minister and the cabinet in the coming months as the law is finalised, and look forward to continuing to serve the millions of Egyptian riders and drivers that rely on Uber.”
The law also requires the companies to retain user data for 180 days and share it with authorities “on request” and “according to the law,” according to a copy of the law reviewed by Reuters.
An earlier draft of the bill had called for real-time data sharing by the companies, but that prompted some opposition in parliament due to privacy concerns.
The law must now be ratified by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
Uber said last year it was committed to Egypt despite challenges presented by sweeping economic reforms and record inflation. In October, Uber announced a $ 20 million investment in its new support center in Cairo.
It has had to make deals with local car dealerships to provide its drivers with affordable vehicles and adjust its ride prices to ensure its workers were not hit too hard by inflation.
($ 1 = 17.5900 Egyptian pounds)
Reporting by Nashaat Hamdi, Mahmoud Mourad, and Eric Knecht; Editing by Mark Potter
(Reuters) – Uber Technologies Inc [UBER.UL] said Monday it has hired a former National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) chairman to advise the company on its safety culture after a fatal self-driving crash in Arizona.
Online news outlet The Information reported Monday that Uber has determined the likely cause of the fatal collision was a problem with the software that decides how the car should react to objects it detects. The outlet said the car’s sensors detected the pedestrian but the software decided it did not need to react right away.
“We have initiated a top-to-bottom safety review of our self-driving vehicles program, and we have brought on former NTSB Chair Christopher Hart to advise us on our overall safety culture,” Uber said Monday. “Our review is looking at everything from the safety of our system to our training processes for vehicle operators, and we hope to have more to say soon.”
A 49-year-old woman was killed on March 18 after being hit by an Uber self-driving sports utility vehicle while walking across a street in Phoenix, leading the company to suspend testing of autonomous vehicles. Arizona’s governor also ordered a halt to Uber’s testing.
Uber declined to comment on the Information report. “We can’t comment on the specifics of the incident,” the company said, citing the ongoing NTSB investigation.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is also investigating the incident.
Uber Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi said in April the ride-sharing company still believes in the prospects for autonomous transport. “Autonomous (vehicles) at maturity will be safer,” he said at a Washington event.
Reporting by David Shepardson; editing by Jonathan Oatis
LONDON (Reuters) – London’s Transport Commissioner Mike Brown met Uber [UBER.UL]boss Dara Khosrowshahi in January, a freedom of information request revealed, as the Silicon Valley app fights to keep its cars on the streets of its most important European market.
Uber is battling a decision by the city’s transport regulator last September to strip it of its license after it was deemed unfit to run a taxi service, a ruling Uber is appealing.
Since then Uber has made a series of changes to its business model, responding to requests from regulators, including the introduction of 24/7 telephone support and the proactive reporting of serious incidents to London’s police.
Khosrowshahi flew to London in October for discussions with Brown after which Uber promised to make things right in the British capital city.
The pair had a second meeting in London in January, according to a response to a freedom of information request from Reuters.
“The Commissioner met with Dara Khosrowshahi on 3 October 2017 and 15 January 2018, both meetings took place in London,” Transport for London (TfL) said.
A TfL spokesman declined to provide an immediate comment on what was discussed at the meeting. Uber declined to comment.
Reuters had asked for a list of every meeting which had taken place between Uber and TfL’s private hire team and/or Brown since Sept. 22 but TfL declined to release such details.
“We are not obliged to supply the remainder of the information requested in relation to meetings as it … relates to information where disclosure would be likely to prejudice the exercise by any public authority of its functions ..,” it said.
A court hearing over Uber’s appeal is due this month before the substance of the appeal is heard in June.
Reporting by Costas Pitas; editing by Stephen Addison
(Reuters) – Uber Technologies Inc [UBER.UL] has picked VMware Inc’s (VMW.N) Zane Rowe as the top candidate for chief financial officer to lead preparations for the ride-hailing company’s initial public offering in 2019, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday.
The Silicon Valley startup is in advanced talks with Rowe, who is currently CFO at VMware, Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the matter.
An agreement has not been finalized yet and talks could still fall through, Bloomberg said citing one of the sources.
Uber’s board of directors has agreed to take the company public in 2019 and is searching for a chief financial officer to lead this effort. The position has been vacant since 2015.
VMware declined to comment. Uber was not immediately available for comment outside regular U.S. business hours.
Reporting by Subrat Patnaik in Bengaluru; Editing by Sunil Nair
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Uber Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi said on Wednesday that the ride-sharing company still believes in the prospects for autonomous transport after one of its self-driving vehicles was involved in a fatal crash in Arizona last month.
A 49-year-old woman was killed after being hit by an Uber self-driving sports utility vehicle while walking across a street in Phoenix, leading the company to suspend testing of autonomous vehicles.
Khosrowshahi declined to say when the company might resume testing or what might have gone wrong. He said the company was cooperating with federal investigators and dealing with the incident “very seriously.”
The accident has raised questions about the lack of clear safety standards for such vehicles.
But, speaking at a transport forum, Khosrowshahi said Uber was still betting on the technology in the long-term.
“We believe in it,” he said, adding that Uber considered autonomous vehicles “part of the solution” and in the long-term key to eliminating individual car ownership.
“Autonomous (vehicles) at maturity will be safer,” he said.
The company’s interest in investing in bike sharing and public transit should not be interpreted as a move away from self-driving cars, he added.
The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) are investigating the incident.
“They are a neutral party,” said Khosrowshahi. “They understand this.”
“We’ll figure out what we do afterwards.”
Arizona’s governor suspended Uber’s ability to test self-driving cars on public roads in the state following the crash. Arizona had been a key hub for Uber’s autonomous project, with about half of the company’s 200 self-driving cars and a staff of hundreds.
Governor Doug Ducey last month called a video of the incident “disturbing and alarming” and the crash “an unquestionable failure.”
NTSB chairman Robert Sumwalt on Tuesday told Reuters he had no update on the investigation.
Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Susan Thomas and Rosalba O’Brien
(Reuters) – Chipmaker Nvidia Corp said on Tuesday it has suspended self-driving tests across the globe, a week after an Uber Technologies Inc [UBER.UL] autonomous vehicle hit and killed a woman crossing the street in Arizona.
The company’s shares reversed course in afternoon trading after the news and were down 4 percent at $ 234.50, wiping out nearly $ 6 billion in market value.
“We are temporarily suspending the testing of our self-driving cars on public roads to learn from the Uber incident,” a company spokesman said.
“Our global fleet of manually driven data collection vehicles continue to operate.”
Uber suspended North American tests of its self-driving vehicles after the fatal collision on March 18 in Tempe, Arizona.
The incident has raised questions about the safety of autonomous technology in general, and of Uber’s system specifically.
Nvidia is testing its technology globally including in New Jersey, Santa Clara, Japan and Germany.
Reuters earlier on Tuesday reported about the test suspension, citing a source.
“Nvidia has no choice but to take steps in the context of the fear, uncertainty and outrage likely to be stimulated by a robot car killing a human being,” Roger Lanctot, an automotive technology analyst with Strategy Analytics, wrote in a blog post bit.ly/2GaIBCN on Tuesday.
“This is precisely the type of event that is capable of slaying a nascent industry in the crib,” Lanctot wrote.
Nvidia leads the autonomous industry with its artificial intelligence platform and has partnered with major global automakers such as Volkswagen AG (VOWG_p.DE), Tesla Inc and Audi AG.
Uber has been using Nvidia’s computing technology since its first test fleet of Volvo SC90 SUVS were deployed in 2016.
Around 320 firms involved in self-driving cars – from software developers, automakers and their suppliers, sensor and mapping companies – use Nvidia Drive platform, according to the company’s website.
Reporting by Alexandria Sage in San Fransisco and Sonam Rai in Bengaluru, Additional reporting by Supantha Mukherjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila
For more than a year prior to a fatal crash in Arizona, Uber’s self-driving cars failed more often, and more dramatically, than competitors’ autonomous vehicles. At the same time, Uber reduced some safety precautions, and was sometimes misleading in its description of its program and its failures. And regulators in Arizona, the locus of Uber’s testing, have taken little action to protect residents despite those worrying signals.
The New York Times reported yesterday that, in October of last year, Uber altered its testing program by putting only one safety monitor in each autonomous car rather than two, over the safety concerns of some employees. That move came despite evidence of deep problems with Uber’s autonomous vehicle efforts, dating back as far as December of 2016. That’s when Uber vehicles were seen running red lights in San Francisco. The company first blamed one of its human safety drivers, before it was uncovered in February that the problem was actually with the autonomous system itself.
Evidence quickly emerged that this was not a freak occurrence. In March of 2017, Recode obtained internal documents showing that human drivers had to take over from Uber’s system very frequently relative to the same numbers for other self-driving efforts. Then, the same month, a self-driving Uber flipped on its side in Arizona, though Tempe police found the Uber was not at fault.
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These public troubles seemed to reflect internal problems. The leadership of Uber’s self-driving car unit has frequently been described as troubled, with high levels of engineer attrition. Meanwhile, Google spinoff Waymo alleged in an explosive lawsuit that Uber had stolen technology from it by way of former Waymo executive Anthony Levandowski, who was fired from Uber in May of last year.
Finally, just a few days before this week’s fatal crash, an Uber vehicle in self-driving mode crashed into another vehicle in Pittsburgh. Fault in that crash had not been determined as of recent reporting.
San Francisco regulators put a quick stop to Uber’s testing there in the wake of the red-light incident. But even after sustained warning signs, Arizona officials took no such action, and reiterated this week that there were no plans to change the state’s hands-off regulatory approach.
Many observers believe that the future of Uber hinges on the success of its autonomous driving program. The company regularly posts quarterly losses with few historical parallels, even as regulators and critics argue with growing vehemence that the company is exploiting and underpaying its drivers.
Autonomous vehicles were intended to square that financial circle by taking driver pay out of the equation. The company, according to the Times, had planned to launch a self-driving car service in Arizona by December. CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has canceled a planned April visit to Phoenix to check in on the program’s progress, though the company claims that change is unrelated to the crash. The company’s bigger plans could also now wind up delayed – including not only progress on the road to autonomous driving, but towards its hotly anticipated initial public offering.
DETROIT (Reuters) – Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T) said on Tuesday it will pause autonomous vehicle testing following an accident in which an Uber Technologies Inc [UBER.UL] self-driving vehicle struck and killed a woman in Tempe, Arizona.
Separately, the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office in Phoenix said it was awaiting the results of an investigation by Tempe police of the fatality before reviewing whether any charges should be filed.
Reporting By Joe White; Editing by Jonathan Oatis