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Ride-hailing service Uber rolls out Driverless Cars in San Francisco with mission of Reliable Transportation Everywhere for Everyone

Uber tested autonomous cars earlier this year in Pittsburgh, but on a limited scale

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Uber began testing self-driving cars in Pittsburgh and is now rolling out the service in San Francisco. (Uber), VOA
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Dec 14, 2016: Ride-hailing service Uber has rolled out driverless cars in San Francisco, the second American city the company has targeted.

Uber tested autonomous cars earlier this year in Pittsburgh, but on a limited scale. The San Francisco rollout is expected to be larger.

Uber users in San Francisco will be the first to have a chance to ride in the company’s self-driving vehicle, which is a Volvo XC90 SUV equipped with LIDAR, a radar-type system that uses lasers as well as cameras and computers to navigate.

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“The promise of self-driving is core to our mission of reliable transportation everywhere for everyone,” Anthony Levandowski, Uber’s vice president of self-driving technology, said in a blog post.

Several tech companies have been or are exploring driverless cars, but Uber appears to have the advantage now.

Earlier this week, Alphabet, the parent company of Google, said it was spinning off its effort into a company called Waymo, a possible indication the cars are nearly ready to be tested in the real world. Tesla, Lyft and others are also working on autonomous cars.

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While the Pittsburgh launch was limited to a few frequent users within a small area, Uber says in San Francisco any passenger choosing an UberX ride, one of the cheaper options, could be picked up by a driverless car. The customer will have a choice to accept a driverless car or a regular driver.

As in Pittsburgh, an Uber employee will still be in the car in case of malfunction.

According to The New York Times, it was not clear if Uber legally could test driverless cars in San Francisco as it was not listed as a company holding a permit from the California Department of Motor Vehicles.

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An Uber spokeswoman told the paper the company was “compliant with applicable federal and state laws.”

“We are not planning to operate any differently than in Pittsburgh, where our pilot has been running successfully for several months,” wrote Levandowski. “Second, the rules apply to cars that can drive without someone controlling or monitoring them. For us, it’s still early days and our cars are not yet ready to drive without a person monitoring them.” (VOA)

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Uber to Double its Workforce in The Year 2019

The Uber's IPO move came a day after Lyft, its main competitor in the US, deposited paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for an IPO

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Uber to double down on hiring techies in India, files for an IPO. VOA

Online ride-hailing platform Uber has announced to double its workforce in the product and engineering departments — from over 500 to more than 1,000 ‘technologists’ — at its Bengaluru and Hyderabad facilities next year.

Uber India aims to hire full-stack teams that include product managers, product designers, data scientists, user researchers, mobile, front-end and back-end engineers, as well as Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) experts, the company said in a statement late Friday.

“In 2018, our tech teams grew by 150 per cent and we are focused on doubling down again in 2019,” said Apurva Dalal, Head of Engineering, Uber India.

According to the company, its tech centres in Bengaluru and Hyderabad are critical to the global mission of developing urban mobility solutions for everyone.

“Engineers are working on exciting areas of Customer Engagement, Rider access (next billion riders), Uber Eats, Maps, Marketplace and Data platforms,” informed Dalal.

Uber said it will continue to hire talent from top engineering universities in the country.

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Photo shows an exterior view of the headquarters of Uber in San Francisco. (VOA)

Uber Engineering India has developed some key innovations such as Uber Lite which is a lighter and faster version of the main app.

Uber currently operates in 31 cities in the country and aims to take its services to other, deeper parts of the country.

Meanwhile, the cab hailing app has filed paperwork for its initial public offering (IPO), The Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday citing people familiar with the matter.

Also Read- Microsoft Wants Regulation For Facial Recognition Technology To Start in 2019

The details of Uber’s filing, including the exact day of filing the paperwork, were not known.

According to reports, the company’s most recent private valuation was $76 billion, when it sold a roughly $500 million stake to car maker Toyota.

The Uber’s IPO move came a day after Lyft, its main competitor in the US, deposited paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for an IPO. (IANS)