Wednesday September 19, 2018
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Toyota Investing $500 Million in Uber

Both companies aim to work together to solve the huge challenge of how to design and mass produce self-driving cars, which use computers, cameras and sensors to guide the vehicles

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Uber's new safety feature turns smartphones into crash detectors (VOA)
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Toyota will invest half a billion dollars into ride-sharing giant Uber as part of a deal for the two companies to work together on developing self-driving vehicles.

Toyota, one of the world’s largest car makers, is seen as lagging behind other companies, including General Motors and Google’s Waymo, in the autonomous-vehicle race.

Uber has already begun testing self-driving vehicles, but was forced to remove hundreds of autonomous cars from the road in March after one of its test vehicles struck and killed a pedestrian on a street in Tempe, Arizona.

The deal between Uber and Toyota is an indication that Uber does not want to go it alone in creating the complex, autonomous driving systems.

Self-driving cars have always been important to Uber, which sees them as a way to reduce the cost of carrying passengers. Former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick had insisted on developing a proprietary self-driving system, however current CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has been working to develop more partnerships for the company.

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A visitor walks through a Toyota showroom in Tokyo, Aug. 3, 2018. (VOA)

Uber has been doing safety evaluations since the March crash that killed a 49-year-old woman as she walked her bicycle across the street. The company took a step in July toward relaunching its vehicle testing in Pittsburgh, putting its self-driving cars back on the road in manual mode.

Toyota has been cautious in its approach to self-driving vehicles and has focused on partial autonomous systems. However, the company says it plans to begin testing self-driving electric cars around 2020.

Both companies aim to work together to solve the huge challenge of how to design and mass produce self-driving cars, which use computers, cameras and sensors to guide the vehicles.

Also Read- AI-System to Detect Specks of Lung Cancer

Proponents of the new technology argue that self-driving cars will prove to be safer than human drivers because the cars will not get distracted and will obey all traffic laws.

Critics have expressed concern about the technology’s safety, including the ability of the autonomous technology to deal with unpredictable events. (VOA)

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Uber Rolls New Safety Feature in Case of a Crash

You can expect to see these features in your app over the coming months, and there's more to come.

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Uber
Uber's new safety feature turns smartphones into crash detectors (VOA)

Ride-hailing major Uber has introduced several new features including one that can give passengers the tools that are needed to get help quickly in the event of a possible crash.

The feature, called Ride Check, harnesses the power of GPS and other sensors in the driver’s smartphone to detect possible crash.

“When a Ride Check is initiated, riders and drivers will be prompted to use our Safety Toolkit, which includes the option for 911 assistance. Our safety team can also followup by phone to make sure everyone is safe,” Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said in a statement on Wednesday.

Uber launched the “Safety Toolkit” and in-app emergency button for riders in April and these features are now available across India, Canada, and the US, as well as countries throughout Latin America.

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App-based Cab Uber. Wikimedia

The Ride Check feature can also flag trip irregularities beyond crashes.

For example, if there is a long, unexpected stop during a trip, both the rider and the driver will receive a Ride Check notification to ask if everything is all right.

“They can let us know through the app that all is well, or take other actions like using the emergency button or reporting the issue to Uber’s critical safety line,” Khosrowshahi said.

“We expect to expand this technology to additional scenarios in the future,” he added.

Uber also announced that it would soon start voice-activated commands designed to offer drivers and delivery partners a hands-free way to interact with the Uber app, so they can accept trips and communicate with customers using just their voice.

To protect the privacy of users, Uber’s Driver app would only show the general area where a trip started and ended, not the address, Khosrowshahi said.

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The feature, called Ride Check, harnesses the power of GPS and other sensors in the driver’s smartphone to detect possible crash Pixabay

Uber also announced that it was extending the two-step verification process to give riders the option to use this feature every time they log into their account.

Also Read: Ola Expands its business, Starts Services in UK

So one can now choose to use text messages or third-party authentication apps like Google Authenticator, Authy, or Duo by visiting their account settings and selecting their preferred method.

“You can expect to see these features in your app over the coming months, and there’s more to come. That’s because when it comes to safety, our work is never done,” Khosrowshahi said. (IANS)

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