Company / division: Uber
Once San Francisco shut the Uber self-driving experiment down for flouting regulations, it was inevitable that it would move elsewhere. Arizona’s governor has courted autonomous driving trials, and is using the incident as a way to score points against neighbor California. But it’s worth remembering these are just 16 cars, and California was merely seeking oversight, not to block Uber here.
Uber stops San Francisco self-driving pilot as DMV revoked registrations | TechCrunch (Dec 22, 2016)
This seemed inevitable, and you have to wonder what Uber was trying to prove here. Uber’s cavalier attitude towards regulation has generally served it well, but I’ve felt ever since this imbroglio started that this was a step too far – fighting the taxi lobby is one thing, but rejecting oversight of potentially dangerous technology is quite another.
Uber’s Drive Into India Relies on Raw Recruits – WSJ (Dec 22, 2016)
There’s been so much focus on Uber in China, which is obviously a massive market for ride-sharing, and where Uber has ultimately had to concede defeat. But there are interesting challenges with regard to expansion into other emerging markets like India.
Uber to Your Friends and Snap Along the Way! (Dec 21, 2016)
Uber announced two new features – making a friend rather than a place your destination for rides, and a filter integration with Snapchat. Uber has always been open to partnerships, with Spotify and Facebook previous partners – it’s an interesting way to expand its reach and also keep people in the app longer.
The Tesla Advantage: 1.3 Billion Miles of Data – Bloomberg (Dec 20, 2016)
This is a huge oversimplification – Tesla’s cars aren’t entirely autonomous, and mostly use their limited autonomy on highways, whereas truly autonomous vehicles need to learn how to drive in far more complex urban environments. But having production cars actively using the technology certainly helps Tesla.
Uber may have long since outgrown the startup label, but its financial state continues to suggest its aptitude. Its loss-leading strategy to win market share doesn’t seem to have fazed repeated rounds of investors, but continues to generate headlines. The big question remains whether there’s a path to profitability anytime soon here, in well-established individual markets at least.
see also Bloomberg
Apple, Facebook, Google and Uber say they won’t help Trump build a registry of Muslim-Americans – Recode (Dec 17, 2016)
There’s growing consensus on this point now among the major tech companies, and thankfully little new noise from the Trump transition team about putting this particular campaign promise into action. Of course, that’s not to say it will never happen, or that the administration couldn’t build the registry itself, but it’s good to see tech companies showing some backbone on this point at least.
Uber plans to keep its self-driving cars on San Francisco roads despite DMV’s demand to stop – Recode (Dec 16, 2016)
This story has been characteristic of Uber’s disregard for regulations, which in the past have mostly been designed to protect the taxi lobby, but with self-driving cars moves into the realm of protecting drivers, passengers, and other road users. I suspect Uber will get a lot less sympathy from its users over these issues, and this approach will eventually backfire.
This article is from when it first became apparent that Uber might end up being one of the first companies to put autonomous vehicles on real roads with real passengers, back in September 2015. Even then, Arizona governor Doug Ducey was attempting to entice technology companies to do their testing in his state, a strategy that paid off in December 2016 when Uber moved its second self-driving trial from San Francisco to Arizona.