inspiral + uber   231

How Tech Firms Like Uber Hide Behind the ‘Platform Defense’ | WIRED
And now we learn that Uber isn’t a hired car company, but a platform. Do the drivers live in poverty? Are they overworked? An employer is invested in the welfare of its workers and can be held to account by unions and government regulations. But a platform? That’s another word for the marketplace, and the marketplace doesn’t believe in tears.

There is a reason that some people call Silicon Valley a font of cruelty. The platform defense seems like an easy justification for turning your eyes away from social destruction. But even more insidious is the trashing of basic, time-tested standards for relationships, whether between news tellers or storytellers and their audience, between hosts and their guests, between employers and their employees.
sharingeconomy  review  critique  legal  Uber  Lyft  Airbnb  Wired  2019 
12 weeks ago by inspiral
Uber And Lyft Take A Lot More From Drivers Than They Say
The findings “support the argument that their business model is built on large scale labor exploitation.”
Uber  Lyft  ridesharing  sharingeconomy  employment  review  critique  Jalopnik  2019 
september 2019 by inspiral
I Don’t Use Uber. Neither Should You. - Radical Urbanist - Medium
Uber has made getting from A to B easier for a certain group of people — of that there can be no doubt — but it’s also had severe consequences for other people who don’t have the resources to be frequent uberers. And, personally, I think that should be considered when we decide which service or transportation mode we want to use to get to our destination.
Uber  ridesharing  review  critique  employment  automotive  congestion  RadicalUrbanist  2019 
july 2019 by inspiral
The Innisfil experiment: the town that replaced public transit with Uber | Cities | The Guardian
But beyond the excitement of essentially having subsidised taxi service, experts paint a more troubling picture of questionable economic and environmental sustainability. The city has now spent more on Uber than the traditional transit option it was considering, and has dramatically increased the number of cars on its roads, with worrying implications for air quality and the climate crisis.
Uber  publictransport  Innisfil  Canada  review  Guardian  2019 
july 2019 by inspiral
A Million Tesla ‘Robotaxis’ Would Cripple Urban Transport
However, Musk’s robotaxi proposal shows what the tech industry aspires to do if autonomy ever reaches a level where it can handle most driving situations, and it’s pretty clear it would be disastrous for cities. A million robotaxis within a year would cripple urban transport systems, but that doesn’t bother Musk because he refuses to accept cities have spatial constraints.
Uber  ElonMusk  selfdrivingvehicles  forecast  review  critique  RadicalUrbanist  Medium  2019 
may 2019 by inspiral
Will Uber Survive the Next Decade?
Uber has succeeded in getting the business press to treat its popularity as the same as commercial success. A few tech reporters, like Eric Newcomer of Bloomberg, have politely pointed out that Uber’s results fall well short of other tech illuminati prior to going public. The pitch that dominance would produce profits is demonstrably false and Uber seems unable to come up with a new story. There’s every reason to think that investors, not local cab companies, will wind up being Uber’s biggest roadkill.
Uber  ridesharing  valuation  results  review  critique  NYMag  2018 
december 2018 by inspiral
Did Uber Steal Google’s Intellectual Property? | The New Yorker
Silicon Valley was built on job-hopping. But when a leader of Google’s self-driving-car unit joined Uber, Google filed suit. Now the Feds are on the case.
Uber  Waymo  intellectualproperty  SiliconValley  AnthonyLevandowski  NewYorker  2018 
october 2018 by inspiral
New York gig economy under threat as city cracks down on app-based services | US news | The Guardian
City has jumped to the forefront of a worldwide push to clamp down on companies such as Uber, Lyft and Airbnb
Airbnb  Uber  Lyft  sharingeconomy  regulations  NewYork  USA  Guardian  2018 
august 2018 by inspiral
The Fall of Travis Kalanick Was a Lot Weirder and Darker Than You Thought - Bloomberg
Silicon Valley CEOs are supposed to be sacrosanct. So how did it all go wrong at Uber?
TravisKalanick  Uber  management  review  critique  startup  Bloomberg  2018 
january 2018 by inspiral
Uber’s Secret Tool for Keeping the Cops in the Dark - Bloomberg
Most tech companies don’t expect police to regularly raid their offices, but Uber isn’t most companies. The ride-hailing startup’s reputation for flouting local labor laws and taxi rules has made it a favorite target for law enforcement agencies around the world. That’s where this remote system, called Ripley, comes in. From spring 2015 until late 2016, Uber routinely used Ripley to thwart police raids in foreign countries, say three people with knowledge of the system. Allusions to its nature can be found in a smattering of court filings, but its details, scope, and origin haven’t been previously reported.
Uber  legal  ethics  taxation  review  critique  Bloomberg  2018 
january 2018 by inspiral
Inside the Eccentric, Unstoppable Deal-Making of Masayoshi Son - Bloomberg
The Japanese billionaire has changed the startup game with his aggressive investing and enormous checkbook. Does he know what he’s doing?
MasayoshiSon  SoftBank  profile  venturecapital  investment  startup  Uber  Alibaba  Didi  Brain  Bloomberg  2017 
january 2018 by inspiral
Reflecting on one very, very strange year at Uber — Susan Fowler
When I look back at the time I spent at Uber, I'm overcome with thankfulness that I had the opportunity to work with some of the best engineers around. I'm proud of the work I did, I'm proud of the impact that I was able to make on the entire organization, and I'm proud that the work I did and wrote a book about has been adopted by other tech companies all over the world. And when I think about the things I've recounted in the paragraphs above, I feel a lot of sadness, but I can't help but laugh at how ridiculous everything was. Such a strange experience. Such a strange year. 
Uber  gender  sexism  management  humanresources  review  critique  SusanJFowler  2017 
december 2017 by inspiral
Uber’s new chief legal officer tells staff: If you are surveilling people for competitive intelligence, stop it now - Recode
Uber’s top brass addressed newly revealed allegations a former employee made about the company’s past security and surveillance practices in a series of emails to the staff.

The ride-hail company’s chief legal officer Tony West, just days into his job, sent an email to the firm’s security team telling them to stop any competitive intelligence projects that included surveilling individuals.
Uber  ethics  surveillance  review  critique  Recode  2017 
december 2017 by inspiral
Understanding Uber: It's Not About The App - London Reconnections
On Friday 22 September, many Londoners who regularly use Uber received an email. “As you may have heard,” it began, “the Mayor and Transport for London have announced that they will not be renewing Uber’s licence to operate in our city when it expires on 30 September.”
Uber  regulation  TransportforLondon  review  London  LondonReconnecitons  2017 
september 2017 by inspiral
Defining Aggregators – Stratechery by Ben Thompson
Aggregation Theory describes how platforms (i.e. aggregators) come to dominate the industries in which they compete in a systematic and predictable way. Aggregation Theory should serve as a guidebook for aspiring platform companies, a warning for industries predicated on controlling distribution, and a primer for regulators addressing the inevitable antitrust concerns that are the endgame of Aggregation Theory.
aggregator  aggregationtheory  strategy  Netflix  Uber  Google  Facebook  review  define  Stratechery  2017 
september 2017 by inspiral
Uber’s New CEO – Stratechery by Ben Thompson
To that end, Uber’s strength — and its sky-high valuation — comes from the company’s ability to acquire customers cheaply thanks to a combination of the service’s usefulness and the effects of aggregation theory: as the company acquires users (and as users increases their usage) Uber attracts more drivers, which makes the service better, which makes it easier to acquire marginal users (not by lowering the price but rather by offering a better service for the same price). The single biggest factor that differentiates multi-billion dollar companies is a scalable advantage in customer acquisition costs; Uber has that.
Uber  management  DaraKhosrowshahi  strategy  aggregationtheory  accommodation  Expedia  comparison  Stratechery  2017 
august 2017 by inspiral
One Way to Fix Uber: Think Twice Before Using It
We can’t, obviously. Instead, its your job and mine to verify. Uber says it’s going to make its workplace more inclusive. It will abandon many of its brash cultural values. Its war room will become a peace room (literally). It will become Uber 2.0.

We should all hope it does. But we should do more than hope: There’s an Uber app on your phone. Think twice about tapping it, because if Uber remains terrible after this, we have only ourselves to blame.
Uber  ridesharing  ethics  review  management  critique  NYTimes  2017 
june 2017 by inspiral
Uber, Lyft, Airbnb, and the on-demand economy is a bubble—and it’s about to burst — Quartz
But just because massive companies like Airbnb are finding success in the travel sector doesn’t mean that on-demand delivery of goods and services in other areas has been solved. Other than ride sharing, lodging, and food delivery, mass-market adoption for on-demand uses is shaky at best. (In fact, we’re not even sure if the on-demand economy is technically legal.) Instead, venture capital is fueling the space and essentially subsidizing services. But VC money does not make your company invincible, and you can only finance growth through venture money for so long—even Uber and Lyft are burning through a ton of cash.
startup  sharingeconomy  venturecapital  profitability  review  critique  loyalty  competitiveadvantage  Uber  Airbnb  Lyft  Ola  Instacart  Deliveroo  Quartz  2017 
may 2017 by inspiral
Flying car contenders taxi for take-off
Flying car contenders taxi for take-off “If cheap drones are the peace dividend of the smartphone wars, self-flying cars are going to be the peace dividend of the drone wars,” says Jeremy Conrad, partner at hardware investor Lemnos Labs.
aerospace  flyingcars  innovation  Uber  Airbus  transport  battery  review  FinancialTimes  2017 
may 2017 by inspiral
Uber’s C.E.O. Plays With Fire - The New York Times
Travis Kalanick’s drive to win in life has led to a pattern of risk-taking that has at times put his ride-hailing company on the brink of implosion.
TravisKalanick  Uber  ridesharing  management  review  critique  ethics  NYTimes  2017 
april 2017 by inspiral
Uber Isn’t Worth $17 Billion | FiveThirtyEight
The list of Uber’s investors includes some of the biggest names in venture capital, and you may be tempted to conclude that given their pedigree, they must know something we don’t. You may be right, but I wouldn’t be that quick to conclude that smart investors always make smart investment judgments.
Uber  ridesharing  valuation  review  critique  FiveThirtyEight  2017 
april 2017 by inspiral
That Four-Star Rating You Left Could Cost Your Uber Driver Her Job
The gig economy has made us comfortable rating the people we pay to do tasks for us. Both data and anecdotes suggest five-star rating systems are subjective, prone to bias, and generally confusing, yet labor marketplaces continue to ask customers to choose from one to five stars to determine who’s good at their job and who isn’t. Last week, Netflix officially replaced its five-star system for rating movies with a more simple thumbs-up, thumbs-down. Maybe it’s time for other data-driven platforms to consider making a change, too.
Uber  Lyft  PostMates  ridesharing  sharingeconomy  consumerreviews  review  critique  Buzzfeed  2017 
april 2017 by inspiral
Detroit is kicking Silicon Valley’s ass in the race to build self-driving cars - The Verge
Earlier today, Recode and several other outlets reported that Tesla is now worth more than Ford after delivering a record number of cars for the quarter. This news will no doubt lead to some celebration in Silicon Valley, which has sought to portray itself as the logical successor to Detroit as the capital of American innovation. But new research released today shows that the upstarts on the sunny West Coast — Uber, Google, and Tesla — still have a lot of catching up to do when it comes to outpacing their rivals in chilly Michigan.

That’s the assessment of Navigant Research, which scored 18 companies working on self-driving technology on 10 different criteria related to strategy, manufacturing, and execution. The report then combined all that into an overall score to get a sense of who’s ahead and who’s not. General Motors and Ford are currently leading the pack, with Daimler and Renault-Nissan close behind. Those four companies make up Navigant’s “leader” category. In other words, when you climb into your first self-driving car in 2021, it will almost certainly be built by one of those four companies.
selfdrivingvehicles  automotive  forecast  leaguetable  ranking  GM  Ford  Mercedes  Renault-Nissan  Uber  Volvo  Toyota  Volkswagen  Tesla  NavigantResearch  TheVerge  2017 
april 2017 by inspiral
Internal Metrics Show How Often Uber’s Self-Driving Cars Need Human Help - BuzzFeed News
Human drivers were forced to take control of Uber’s self-driving cars about once per mile driven in early March during testing in Arizona, according to an internal performance report obtained by BuzzFeed News. The report reveals for the first time how Uber’s self-driving car program is performing, using a key metric for evaluating progress toward fully autonomous vehicles.
Human drivers take manual control of autonomous vehicles during testing for a number of reasons — for example, to address a technical issue or avoid a traffic violation or collision. The self-driving car industry refers to such events as “disengagements,” though Uber uses the term “intervention” in the performance report reviewed by BuzzFeed News. During a series of autonomous tests the week of March 5, Uber saw disengagement rates greater than those publicly reported by some of its rivals in the self-driving car space.
Uber  selfdrivingvehicles  testing  metrics  review  critique  Buzzfeed  2017 
march 2017 by inspiral
Fury Road: Did Uber Steal the Driverless Future From Google? - Bloomberg
But none of these scandals has the potential financial impact of the one Uber has said the least about: a lawsuit from Alphabet Inc.—the parent of Google and Google’s self-driving car division, now called Waymo—over driverless cars. Waymo says Uber is in possession of, and is basing the future of its business on, technology that was stolen by a former employee.
Uber  Google  Waymo  Otto  selfdrivingvehicles  automotive  intellectualproperty  TravisKalanick  Bloomberg  2017 
march 2017 by inspiral
Welcome to Diversity Debt: The Crisis That Could Sink Uber
What’s keeping Google from moving the needle on these metrics? It’s certainly not for lack of resources being dedicated to the problem, nor internal commitment to diversity—at least to white and Asian employees. Almost every tech company is mired in diversity debt, and the larger you get before addressing diversity issues, the more debt you accrue. Google’s going to be paying down the interest on its diversity debt for a long time before it can start whittling away at the principal.
diversity  tech  review  critique  Uber  Google  BackChannel  2017 
march 2017 by inspiral
Uber and Airbnb are not the future of capitalism - Vox
But this vision of the future hasn’t aged well. Uber and Airbnb have obviously enjoyed tremendous growth. Beyond that, it depends on how you define the term. Some people count companies like Prosper, LendingClub, WeWork, Etsy, and Zipcar as part of the sharing economy. Others don’t. What’s clear is that outside of the car business, the sharing economy isn’t rendering ownership obsolete. Consumerism isn’t in decline, and capitalism isn’t being transformed.

Even the three best-known “sharing economy” companies have found there are limits to peer-to-peer sharing. Asking early adopters to share is a great way to bootstrap a new online business. But beyond a certain point, continued growth often requires professionalization.
sharingeconomy  Airbnb  Uber  review  critique  professionalisation  Vox  2017 
march 2017 by inspiral
The Uber Conflation – Stratechery by Ben Thompson
The first thing to understand about not just the current Uber controversy (controversies), but all Uber controversies is that while it not usually articulated as such, in fact there are multiple questions being debated.

Question 1: Is Uber a viable business that can one day go public, make a profit, and return the unprecedented amount of capital it has raised?
Question 2: Is Uber’s approach to regulation wrong?
Question 3: Is Uber wrong with regards to the specific issue at the center of this controversy?
Uber  management  ethics  regulations  sexism  review  critique  Stratechery  2017 
march 2017 by inspiral
How Uber Deceives the Authorities Worldwide - The New York Times
The program, involving a tool called Greyball, uses data collected from the Uber app and other techniques to identify and circumvent officials who were trying to clamp down on the ride-hailing service. Uber used these methods to evade the authorities in cities like Boston, Paris and Las Vegas, and in countries like Australia, China and South Korea.

Greyball was part of a program called VTOS, short for “violation of terms of service,” which Uber created to root out people it thought were using or targeting its service improperly. The program, including Greyball, began as early as 2014 and remains in use, predominantly outside the United States. Greyball was approved by Uber’s legal team.
Uber  regulation  Greyball  ridesharing  review  critique  NYTimes  2017 
march 2017 by inspiral
A Perfect Storm at Uber - The New Yorker
The C.E.O. of Uber, Travis Kalanick, is under fire for his company’s record of sexual-harassment complaints.
Uber  sexism  harassment  employment  review  critique  NewYorker  2017 
march 2017 by inspiral
Uber’s Leather Boys
Here it is in a nutshell. Fowler worked on the Site Reliability Engineering team (SRE), with about 120 men and 6 women. Uber decided to buy the SREs leather jackets, and gave fittings to all. But after the company learned that it had enough men’s sizes to qualify for a discount but would have to pay retail for the women’s jackets, it decided to give jackets only to male SREs. Fowler sent an email to the director to note the unfairness, and he replied essentially that she was being unfair, because if Uber paid more for women’s jackets, then the women would be getting special treatment.
Uber  employment  sexism  discrimination  critique  BackChannel  2017 
february 2017 by inspiral
Uber’s public Q&A with drivers was a disaster - The Verge
Ride hailing giant Uber today trotted out Jeff Jones, its ride sharing president, in a public Facebook Q&A to try and address driver complaints. Given Uber’s reputation of late and its complicated and messy history with drivers, the session did not go over all that smoothly. In total, Jones answered only 12 questions on his public Facebook post. Two of those questions came from people wondering whether the session was live, while another involved Jones replying with “hey” to someone who simply wrote “hello.”
After realizing that 30 minutes of his free time may not be enough to try and address perhaps the company’s biggest and most sensitive vulnerability, Jones switched to addressing broad topics with links to Uber’s website. Those topics ranged from support and earnings statements to driver ratings and rider behavior. This did not appease many of the participants in the Q&A, who began flooding Jones’ comments with complaints, angry messages, and stories of their own negative experiences with Uber’s platform. For Jones, this is probably uncharted territory. The former Target executive is used to more in-person community engagement, and he has in fact been holding small, roundtable events with drivers that have been noticeably less public than this.
Uber  ridesharing  socialmedia  creativeshowcase  Facebook  critique  TheVerge  2017 
february 2017 by inspiral
Uber Hires Veteran NASA Engineer to Develop Flying Cars - Bloomberg
The man who inspired Google’s co-founder will join the ride-hailing startup’s nascent project.
Uber  flyingcars  innovation  MarkMoore  management  Google  Bloomberg  2017 
february 2017 by inspiral
Taxi Medallion Prices Are Plummeting, Endangering Loans - Bloomberg
There's a good reason your cab driver is so cranky: His livelihood might be teetering on the edge of default. According to a recent presentation prepared for Capital One Financial Corp. investors, some 81 percent of its $690 million in loans for taxi medallions are at risk of default.

Medallions, the small metal shields affixed to the hoods of taxi cabs, are issued by the local taxi authority and effectively allow the cabs to operate legally. Owning one used to be akin to owning a gas-guzzling, money-printing machine. Medallions in New York City traded at more than $1 million in 2014, but today's prices are about half of that.
Taxi  regulation  prices  decline  NewYork  default  ridesharing  Uber  USA  Bloomberg  2017 
february 2017 by inspiral
Mercedes and Uber plan network of self-driving cars
Mercedes-Benz plans to run a network of self-driving cars that can be booked through Uber’s app, in the latest step in the evolution of autonomous technology in the auto sector.

Uber will offer the service in addition to its existing ride options. It will take a cut of the revenues, while Daimler, Mercedes’ parent company, will operate the vehicle network. Uber will retain control of the network of passengers.
Mercedes  Uber  selfdrivingvehicles  ridesharing  collaboration  partnership  launch  FinancialTimes  2017 
february 2017 by inspiral
Uber’s Drive Into India Relies on Raw Recruits - WSJ
Uber scrambles to find drivers in India, where many don’t have a car or smartphone
Uber  ridesharing  India  employment  critique  review  WallStreetJournal  2016 
january 2017 by inspiral
Uber self-driving plan defies California regulators
Uber is poised to start carrying passengers in self-driving cars in San Francisco despite lacking a permit to test autonomous vehicles in California, in the latest example of the company’s brash approach to regulation.

The move will heighten concerns about transparency and safety at a crucial time for driverless policy in the US, as carmakers and technology companies vie to dominate a technology that is seen as vital to the future of transportation.
Uber  selfdrivingvehicles  pilot  regulation  ridesharing  California  SanFrancisco  USA  FinancialTimes  2016 
december 2016 by inspiral
Uber admits its self-driving cars have a problem with bike lanes - The Verge
Less than a week after self-driving Uber cars were spotted committing a range of traffic violations in San Francisco, the company has admitted that its autonomous vehicles also have a "problem" with the way they handle bike lanes. An Uber spokesperson told the Guardian that the company was working to fix a programming flaw that could see the cars making unsafe turns in the city's cycling lanes
Uber  selfdrivingvehicles  automotive  bikelanes  critique  review  trial  SanFrancisco  TheVerge  2016 
december 2016 by inspiral
Uber Loses at Least $1.2 Billion in First Half of 2016 - Bloomberg
After touting profitability in the U.S. early this year, the ride-hailing company is said to post second-quarter losses exceeding $100 million.
Uber  revenues  profitability  startup  ridesharing  review  critique  Bloomberg  2016 
december 2016 by inspiral
Can Uber Ever Deliver? Part One – Understanding Uber’s Bleak Operating Economics | naked capitalism
There have been hundreds of articles claiming that Uber has produced wonderful benefits, but none of these benefits increase consumer welfare because they depended on billions in subsidies. Uber is currently a staggeringly unprofitable company. Aside from the imposition of unilateral cuts in driver compensation, there is no evidence of any progress towards breakeven, and no one can provide a credible explanation of how Uber could achieve the billions in P&L improvements needed to achieve sustainable profits and investor returns.

Uber’s growth to date is entirely explained by its willingness to engage in predatory competition funded by Silicon Valley billionaires pursuing industry dominance. But this financial evidence, while highly suggestive, cannot completely answer the question of how an Uber-dominated industry would impact overall economic welfare.
Uber  startup  ridesharing  profitability  review  critique  venturecapital  NakedCapitalism  2016 
december 2016 by inspiral
The Tech Bubble Didn’t Burst This Year. Just Wait - Bloomberg
Startups’ struggles to grow and woo venture capitalists are only half the story, though, because the VCs themselves are more flush than ever. With global interest rates low, Silicon Valley remains a safe-looking diversification strategy for investors, especially wealthy Middle Easterners and Russians with little regard for rates of return. These investors have poured money into new funds raised by the likes of Andreessen Horowitz and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. (Bloomberg LP, which owns Bloomberg Businessweek, is an investor in Andreessen Horowitz.)
venturecapital  startup  investment  bubble  unicorn  Airbnb  Uber  Bloomberg  2016 
october 2016 by inspiral
Travis Kalanick says Uber has 40 million monthly active riders | TechCrunch
Travis Kalanick says his drivers’ license is expired — though, of course he has to say that. But in Kalanick’s future, with a fleet of driverless Ubers shuttling people around, it might be that everyone’s drivers’ licenses will expire.

His company, Uber, could essentially be a replacement for owning a car for Kalanick, and also for the 40 million monthly active riders the company has. Kalanick revealed that number on stage at the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit this year in San Francisco. Kalanick also said that drivers made somewhere between $1.5 billion and $2 billion last month. Those monthly active riders pay around $50 per month, he said.

While the appears to continue to be making a lot of money, much of its value is going to be dependent on the company’s ability to roll out its autonomous car program. Uber is going to be competing with many more companies outside of just the simple taxi industry, including other autonomous vehicle companies like Google and even traditional auto makers. Even today, Tesla said it would roll out autonomous vehicle hardware capabilities to its cars.
Uber  ridesharing  growth  penetration  selfdrivingvehicles  globalisation  review  Techcrunch  2016 
october 2016 by inspiral
Uber Skips World's Biggest Cab Market for Japan's Tiniest Towns - Bloomberg
Tangocho is one of only two places in Japan where Uber's app can be used to hail a ride by a part-time driver—a service known as UberX in the U.S. and UberPop in Europe. That's because ride-sharing services are only allowed in locations too small to support public transport. In the rest of Japan, only licensed drivers in black cars or taxis are allowed to ferry passengers, leaving Uber with an operation in Tokyo that's minuscule compared with San Francisco, London or Mexico City—even though Japan's capital is the largest taxi cab market in the world.
Uber  ridesharing  elderly  Japan  launch  Bloomberg  2016 
october 2016 by inspiral
Your Driverless Ride Is Arriving
For the rest of my time in Pittsburgh, I get around using Ubers controlled exclusively by humans. The contrast is stark. I want to visit CMU’s National Robotics Engineering Center (NREC)—part of its Robotics Institute, one of the pioneering research groups involved in developing self-driving vehicles—to see what its experts think of Uber’s experiment. So I catch a ride with a guy named Brian, who drives a beat-up Hyundai Sonata. Brian says he’s seen several automated Ubers around town, but he can’t imagine a ride in them being as good as one with him. Brian then takes a wrong turn and gets completely lost. To be fair, though, he weaves through traffic just as well as a self-driving car. Also, when the map on his phone leads us to a bridge that’s closed for repairs, he simply asks a couple of road workers for directions and then improvises a new route. He’s friendly, too, offering to waive the fare and buy me a beer to make up for the inconvenience. It makes you realize that automated Ubers will offer a very different experience. Fewer wrong turns and overbearing drivers, yes, but also no one to help put your suitcase in the trunk or return a lost iPhone.
Uber  automotive  selfdrivingvehicles  Pittsburgh  review  critique  TechnologyReview  2016 
october 2016 by inspiral
Can Uber Conquer Latin America? - Bloomberg
After ceding China, the ride-hailing giant plans to double its presence in the region by the end of next year.
Uber  ridesharing  growth  LatinAmerica  Mexico  Brazil  Bloomberg  2016 
october 2016 by inspiral
Prepare to be Underwhelmed by 2021’s Autonomous Cars
But don’t expect to toss out your driver's license in 2021. Five years isn’t long enough to create vehicles good enough at driving to roam extensively without human input, say researchers working on autonomous cars. They predict that Ford and others will meet their targets by creating small fleets of vehicles limited to small, controlled areas.
automotive  selfdrivingvehicles  innovation  review  critique  Ford  Uber  BMW  TechnologyReview  2016 
october 2016 by inspiral
How Uber Plans To Conquer The Suburbs - BuzzFeed News
With a pilot program in Summit, New Jersey, the ride-hail giant is looking to replace commuter parking lots.
Uber  ridesharing  suburbs  publictransport  competition  Summit  NewJersey  USA  Buzzfeed  2016 
october 2016 by inspiral
Uber’s Self-Driving Cars Debut in Pittsburgh - WSJ
Up to 1,000 Uber customers will be part of the first real-world test in the U.S. for regular people
Uber  selfdrivingvehicles  ridesharing  trial  Pittsburgh  USA  WallStreetJournal  2016 
september 2016 by inspiral
Welcome to Uberville | The Verge
Uber wants to take over public transit, one small town at a time
Uber  publictransport  Altamonte  transport  ridesharing  access  review  TheVerge  2016 
september 2016 by inspiral
Drivers and riders are important to understanding the future of transportation-as-a-service (TaaS), but they are not the only pieces that matter — and not the only areas where Uber still has an advantage. I see five components that really matter:

The shift from an UberX model to self-driving cars will require changes in every component.
selfdrivingvehicles  ridesharing  UberX  UberPool  evolution  opportunity  review  Uber  Tesla  Ford  Nutonomy  Google  Stratechery  2016 
august 2016 by inspiral
Rethinking transportation
I’m excited to announce that Uber has acquired Otto, a 90-plus person technology startup whose mission is to rethink transportation, starting with self-driving trucks. Anthony Levandowski, Otto’s co-founder, will now lead our combined self-driving efforts reporting directly to me—across personal transportation, delivery and trucking—in San Francisco, Palo Alto and Pittsburgh.
Otto  takeover  selfdrivingvehicles  logistics  freight  automation  Uber  2016 
august 2016 by inspiral
Uber’s CEO doesn’t think self-driving cars will cost jobs, and he might be right - Vox
he same logic could apply to the car market. If self-driving cars make taxi rides a lot cheaper, people will take a lot more taxi rides. And that could create more jobs even if the number of jobs per ride goes down. In the long run, there won’t be someone sitting in the driver’s seat, but there will be lots of other jobs supporting cars — things like maintaining, repairing, and cleaning the vehicles, handling customer service calls, keeping maps updated, and so forth.
Uber  automation  employment  impact  selfdrivingvehicles  review  Vox  2016 
august 2016 by inspiral
Five pioneering examples of how brands are using chatbots | Econsultancy
The chatbots are here, and while it remains to be seen whether they are a useful technology or merely a passing fad, many brands are already putting them to work.
chatbots  virtualassistant  creativeshowcase  Sephora  Uber  BankofAmerica  PizzaHut  FacebookMessenger  Kik  Twitter  Econsultancy  2016 
august 2016 by inspiral
Uber’s First Self-Driving Fleet Arrives in Pittsburgh This Month - Bloomberg
The autonomous cars, launching this summer, are custom Volvo XC90s, supervised by humans in the driver’s seat.
Uber  selfdrivingvehicles  ridesharing  Volvo  partnership  Otto  takeover  automotive  review  Bloomberg  2016 
august 2016 by inspiral
Uber Bonds Term Sheet Reveals $470 Million in Operating Losses - Bloomberg
Uber Technologies Inc. is telling prospective investors that it generates $470 million in operating losses on $415 million in revenue, according to a document provided to prospective investors.
The term sheet viewed by Bloomberg News, which is being used to sell $1 billion to $1.2 billion in convertible bonds, doesn’t make clear the time period for those results. The document also touts 300 percent year-over-year growth.
The figures show the heavy losses that Uber is accruing as it expands its global car-booking operation amid fierce local competition. Uber is already operating in more than 300 cities worldwide and is raising money at a $50 billion valuation, a person familiar with the situation said last month. Uber is spending aggressively especially in China and as it experiments with its carpooling service uberPOOL.
Uber  revenues  valuation  review  critique  Bloomberg  2016 
august 2016 by inspiral
Can you short Uber? — Quartz
Which is to say that investors have made a one-way, uber-bullish bet on Uber, forecasting that the company will be at the center of an utter transformation of our collective lifestyle. If not everyone is betting on it, they’re at least not betting against it. We can state that with some certainty because even if you want to short Uber—which you might wish to if only to hedge or to take on a bit of high-end risk—it is generally thought impossible to do.
But what if the consensus has miscalculated? What if the coming trends expected to propel Uber—primarily a decline in private vehicle ownership and the rise of self-driving, clean-powered cars—do generally unfold, but not quite transformationally? What if they take much longer to materialize than anyone is expecting?
Uber  ridesharing  automotive  selfdrivingvehicles  forecast  valuation  review  critique  hedging  short  Quartz  2016 
august 2016 by inspiral
Uber to pour $500m into global mapping project -
Uber is preparing to pour $500m into an ambitious global mapping project as it seeks to wean itself off dependence on Google Maps and pave the way for driverless cars.
The San Francisco-based transportation company has mapping vehicles crisscrossing the US and Mexico to record the surroundings and gather images for maps. Uber says it will start driving mapping vehicles in other countries soon.
Flush with cash after raising billions of dollars from investors, Uber is ramping up investments in new technologies such as mapping and driverless cars.
The company has decided to invest $500m in mapping, according to a person familiar with Uber’s plans, as it doubles down its efforts in this challenging space.
Uber  selfdrivingvehicles  automotive  map  ridesharing  investment  FinancialTimes  2016 
august 2016 by inspiral
Uber is selling its China business to dominant local rival Didi Chuxing | The Verge
Chinese ride-hailing service Didi Chuxing is taking over Uber's local business in a deal valuing the combined company at $35 billion, Bloomberg and Recode report. Didi is also said to be investing $1 billion in Uber based on a $68 billion overall valuation. Specific terms of the deal aren't yet clear, though Didi Chuxing was recently valued at $25 billion.
Uber  DidiChuxing  ridesharing  China  takeover  TheVerge  2016 
august 2016 by inspiral
Uber reaches 2 billion rides six months after hitting its first billion | Reuters
Uber has completed more than 2 billion trips on its app, the company's chief executive said on Monday, a milestone that arrives just weeks after the ride service added another $4.7 billion to its warchest.

Uber [UBER.UL] hit 2 billion rides on June 18, CEO Travis Kalanick said in a Facebook post, six months after marking its first billion rides. The company, then, completed the same number of rides in six months as it did in the prior six years - due in part to its heavy spending to recruit drivers and passengers, which is made possible by more than $13 billion in funding from investors.

Kalanick said that 147 Uber rides started at the exact same second in 16 countries to tie for the two billionth trip. The largest portion of those rides - 54 - happened in China, an indication of the company's growth in that country, where Kalanick has also said Uber is losing more than $1 billion a year as it competes for riders.
Uber  statistics  growth  ridesharing  Reuters  2016 
july 2016 by inspiral
The Merging Worlds of Technology and Cars
The line between the technology and automotive industries is blurring. The rise of rideshare companies such as Uber and Lyft means that transportation is being tied ever more closely to your cell phone, while autonomous driving technology is turning your car into a computer. But these developments are expensive: Carmakers’ R&D budgets jumped 61 percent, to $137 billion from 2010 to 2014.

Fiat Chrysler Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne thinks it makes no sense for carmakers to spend billions of dollars developing competing, yet largely identical systems. To share some of the risk—and the cost—the incumbent automotive giants and their would-be disruptors are teaming up in an ever-growing, ever more complex series of alliances.

So Fiat Chrysler, for instance, has paired up with Google to develop 100 self-driving minivans, and is in discussions with Uber about a similar venture. Google has, in turn, invested in Uber, as have Toyota, Microsoft and Tata, owner of Jaguar Land Rover. Bill Ford, chairman of the eponymous carmaker, has meanwhile invested in Lyft, as has General Motors, and Lyft has partnered with China’s Didi, itself the subject of a $1 billion investment from Apple.
FiatChrysler  Google  Uber  Toyota  Microsoft  Tata  Lyft  GeneralMotors  DidiChuxing  Apple  Bloomberg  2016 
june 2016 by inspiral
Uber is trying to make you forget that surge pricing exists | The Verge
Surge pricing has long been Uber’s Achilles’ heel: during periods of excessive demand, when there are more riders than drivers, Uber increases its normal prices to encourage drivers to flood the zone. Drivers love it, often waiting to sign-on to the platform until surge pricing kicks in, but most passengers hate it and some critics equate it with price gouging.

Now, Uber is testing a new version of its app that makes surge pricing nearly invisible to customers. The lightning bolt on the home screen and pop-up box notifying riders that their fare will be multiplied are both gone. Instead, riders who input their destinations will be presented with an ironclad, upfront fare.
uber  ridesharing  pricing  surgepricing  redesign  TheVerge  2016 
june 2016 by inspiral
Why Uber Keeps Raising Billions
Every time Uber raises another $1 billion, venture capital investors and others may find it less attractive to back one of Uber’s many rivals: Didi Chuxing, Lyft, Gett, Halo, Juno. In other words, Uber’s fund-raising efforts have seemingly become part of the contest: It’s not just a rivalry over customers and drivers; it’s a war of attrition, a mad scramble to starve the competition of cash.

At the moment, Uber’s success has had the opposite effect: It has spawned a long list of rivals, big and little guys who say, “We can do it too.” But over time, as the smaller competitors run out of cash — after heavily subsidizing riders in an effort to steal business from Uber — venture capitalists should be less inclined to put up even more cash to go up against Fortress Uber.
Uber  ridesharing  venturecapital  investment  competition  DidiChuxing  NYTimes  2016 
june 2016 by inspiral
Uber’s battle for China - Financial Times
The car-hailing app has disrupted taxi and transport companies around the world. But in China – home to hundreds of millions of urban commuters – it is losing $1bn a year in an aggressive fight for market share.
ridesharing  China  Uber  subsidies  competition  fraud  partnership  Lyft  Ola  Grab  FinancialTimes  2016  DidiChuxing 
june 2016 by inspiral
Secrets of the Sharing Economy - Bloomberg View
It goes by many names: the “sharing economy,” the “gig economy,” the “on-demand economy." Arun Sundararajan, a professor at New York University’s Stern School of Business who has been studying the phenomenon for several years, favors “crowd-based capitalism.” But he compromised for the book he’s just written, titling it “The Sharing Economy: The End of Employment and the Rise of Crowd-Based Capitalism.”

In the book, Sundararajan argues that online platforms that make it easy for individuals to sell products and services to others are ushering in a new kind of capitalism. I interviewed him over lunch early this month. What follows is an edited and much-abridged account of our conversation.  
sharingeconomy  review  profile  ArunSundararajan  interview  trends  Airbnb  Uber  Etsy  flexibility  Bloomberg  2016 
june 2016 by inspiral
The truth about working for Deliveroo, Uber and the on-demand economy | Money | The Guardian
Drivers, couriers, cleaners and handymen are now at your beck and call thanks to a host of apps. But what’s it like to earn your living waiting for someone else to press a button?
Deliveroo  Uber  Airbnb  sharingeconomy  personalaccount  employment  review  critique  casualisation  UK  Guardian  2016 
june 2016 by inspiral
Uber is seeking up to $2 billion in high-risk loans | The Verge
Today, The Wall Street Journal reported that Uber, the world’s wealthiest startup, is seeking up to $2 billion in loans from institutional investors, as it continues to bleed cash in most of its markets outside the US. The money would come from the leveraged-loan market, which is an untraditional place for startups like Uber to seek cash.
Uber  ridesharing  investment  TheVerge  2016 
june 2016 by inspiral
How a 30K-member Facebook group filled the void left by Uber and Lyft in Austin | TechCrunch
Exactly a month ago, Uber and Lyft paused operations in Austin after voters defeated Proposition 1, an attempt to overturn mandatory fingerprint-based background checks for Uber and Lyft drivers in the city.

With almost a million residents of the 11th largest city in the United States now void of the reliable transportation option that is Uber and Lyft, no one really knew what would happen.

And while a few law-abiding apps sprung up to take Uber and Lyft’s place, it seems that a good deal of demand has shifted to an unlikely provider – an unregulated, peer-to-peer Facebook group.

The group is called Arcade City Austin / Request A Ride, and now has over 30,000 members. So how does it work?

Riders post their requests, which is typically a pickup and drop-off destination as well as desired time (most as ASAP). Then, literally within minutes, potential drivers will respond with an ETA, price, and phone number to call to confirm the pickup. Riders are then instructed to delete the post after confirming a ride, as not to clutter the page.
ridesharing  Facebook  Austin  alternative  Uber  Lyft  decentralisation  innovation  review  Techcrunch  2016 
june 2016 by inspiral
Inside Uber’s Auto-Lease Machine, Where Almost Anyone Can Get a Car - Bloomberg
In its relentless pursuit for growth, Uber needs new drivers, and many of those drivers need cars. To help them get started, Uber has been offering short-term leases since July through a wholly owned Delaware-based subsidiary called Xchange Leasing, LLC. It partners with auto dealerships, advertises to drivers, manages risk, and even pays repo men to chase down cars whose drivers aren't making their payments.
Xchange may be key to Uber's continued expansion as it tangles with Lyft in the U.S. and a bevy of competitors abroad. Uber announced a partnership with Toyota last week to finance even more cars. This year, Uber said its financing and discount programs, which include Xchange, will put more than 100,000 drivers on the road. That requires dipping into the vast pool of people with bad or no credit. 
In a deal led by Goldman Sachs, Xchange received a $1 billion credit facility to fund new car leases, according to a person familiar with the matter. The deal will help Uber grow its U.S. subprime auto leasing business and it will give many of the world's biggest financial institutions exposure to the company's auto leases.  The credit facility is basically a line of credit that Xchange can use to lease out cars to Uber drivers. 
Uber  automotive  leasing  partnership  Xchange  creditrating  critique  review  ridesharing  Bloomberg  2016 
june 2016 by inspiral
3 threats to incumbent car companies are converging into a tidal wave of disruption - Vox
The proliferation of deals represents a growing realization among car companies that they are going to need help navigating the major changes of the next decade.

The auto industry is facing three big innovations — car sharing, battery-powered electric vehicles, and autonomy. By itself, any one of these shifts would represent a significant but manageable challenge. But the real problem is that all three trends are converging, and they jointly represent an existential threat to today's dominant car companies.
automotive  collaboration  partnership  Toyota  Volkswagen  Uber  Google  GM  Lyft  Cruise  Ford  Gett  Apple  DidiChuxing  Tesla  ridesharing  electricvehicles  selfdrivingvehicles  forecast  SiliconValley  Detroit  Vox  2016 
june 2016 by inspiral
Laura Washington: Uber solves my 'hailing while black' problem | Chicago Sun-Times
Two numbers tell the tale.


3.9 million.

Traditional taxi cabs made 350,000 trips beginning or ending in Chicago’s underserved communities between October 2015 and March 2016.

Ride sharing companies, like Uber and Lyft, racked up a stunning 3.9 million trips to or from underserved communities in the same period, according to City Hall.

The city defines “underserved” as “areas with high levels of transit-dependent populations and areas that are not receiving high levels of taxi or ride-share service.”

Mostly, the South and West sides of Chicago.
Uber  ridesharing  taxi  access  equality  Chicago  comparison  ChicagoSunTimes  2016 
may 2016 by inspiral
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