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Uber suspends its self-driving cars from Roads after crash in US

Uber had refused to apply for a $150 permit to test the vehicles in the city

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Uber began testing self-driving cars in Pittsburgh and is now rolling out the service in San Francisco. (Uber), VOA

Washington, March 26, 2017: US ride-hailing company Uber has suspended its self-driving cars from the roads after one such vehicle crashed in Arizona, the media reported on Sunday.

Pictures posted online showed the car on its right side on a street, next to another badly damaged vehicle, the BBC reported.

US-based Fresco News posted the images and video on Facebook on Saturday and wrote: “No injuries yet reported in an accident involving a self-driving Uber.”

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A police official said the accident occurred when the other vehicle “failed to yield” to the Uber car at a left turn.

“There was a person behind the wheel. It is uncertain at this time if they were controlling the vehicle at the time of the collision,” the official said.

The company pulled its self-driving vehicles off the road in Arizona at first, followed by test sites in Pennsylvania and California — all three states where it operated the vehicles.

Uber began testing its self-driving cars in Arizona in February after California’s Department of Motor Vehicles revoked the registrations of the company’s fleet operating in San Francisco.

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Uber had refused to apply for a $150 permit to test the vehicles in the city.

Already mired in several controversies, this crash is the latest in a string of highly public incidents involving the ride-sharing company.

The company lost several big executives since February.

Last week, Uber President Jeff Jones said he was quitting after six months on the job. The company confirmed Jones’ departure.

“We want to thank Jeff for his six months at the company and wish him all the best,” the company said in a statement.

Uber’s head of growth and product, Ed Baker, resigned from the company early in March. Also, an India-born Uber executive quit over an old harassment claim.

Amit Singhal, who was born in Uttar Pradesh, left his job for not disclosing an allegation of sexual harassment by his former employer Google.

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Uber is also fighting a legal battle after Google’s self-driving car company Waymo filed a lawsuit against Uber for allegedly stealing trade secrets and technology from it.

The lawsuit, filed on March 9 against Uber’s self-driving vehicle unit Otto that it bought last year for $680 million, argued that former Waymo manager Anthony Levandowski took information when he left the company and later co-founded Otto in January 2016.

The company said it found that six weeks before his resignation, Levandowski downloaded over 14,000 highly confidential and proprietary design files for Waymo’s various hardware systems, including designs of Waymo’s custom-built “Light Detection and Ranging” (LiDAR) and circuit board.

Levandowski copied the data to an external drive. He later wiped and reformatted the laptop in an attempt to erase forensic fingerprints. (IANS)

Next Story

No one Would Buy a Huawei Smartphone Sans Google or Facebook

Despite all this, there is no respite seen for Huawei in the near future and the company is likely to witness its smartphone business dwindle

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FILE - A member of the media tries out new Huawei Honor 20 series of phones following their global launch in London, UK, May 21, 2019. VOA

By Nishant Arora

Be honest and ask yourself: Would you buy a smartphone that neither supports Android operating system and Google apps nor comes pre-installed with Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram? This is the scenario which Huawei (and its sub-brand Honor) smartphones stare at in the near future – and an imminent fall if the issue does not get resolved in the next one-two quarters.

Although the Chinese communications giant aims to launch its own operating system called “Hongmeng” to replace the Android OS on its smartphones but ‘abhi Dilli door hai’ as the OS has to see the light of the day and then users’ approval, which is the most critical part.

The absence of apps like Facebook or WhatsApp that truly define user experiences is a double whammy for Huawei.

Currently the second largest smartphone player in the world (powered by stupendous growth in non-US regions like Europe and Asia), Huawei has sensed the tough road ahead. A recent report in Nikkei Asian Review claimed that Huawei has “downgraded its forecast for total smartphone shipments in the second half of 2019 by about 20 per cent to 30 per cent from the previous estimate”.

According to Navkendar Singh, Research Director, Devices and Ecosystem, India and South Asia, IDC, almost half of Huawei’s smartphone volumes come from outside China with its wide smartphone portfolio which runs on Android with Google Mobile Services (GMS) – a collection of Google applications and application programming interfaces (APIs) that help support functionality across devices.

“China has its own ecosystem of apps which are hugely popular but only in China. Outside it, almost all popular Android apps are from Google or from US-based companies. These apps are the heart of experience of any smartphone user these days,” Singh told IANS.

“Without these apps present on its own OS, it will be very very tough for Huawei to pull in demand for its phones running on its own OS,” he added.

Sandwiched between the ongoing US-China trade war, Chinese telecom equipment major Huawei is frantically looking to salvage its prestige and fast cover the lost ground.

The company is also looking at the Indian smartphone market which has touched 450 million smartphone users and has a great potential to grow.

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Huawei smartphones are seen in front of displayed Google Play logo in this illustration picture, May 20, 2019. VOA

“In India, they have never been really able to scale up to be a major player. But considering the growth potential in India, the decision by Google and Facebook has put a spanner in the Huawei’s possible aggressive plans for the country as the next growth market in next two-three years outside of China,” Singh told IANS.

Huawei pipped Apple as the second largest smartphone seller in the first quarter of 2019 after Samsung. It clocked 17 per cent market share in the global smartphone market, according to Counterpoint Research.

The Chinese tech giant, meanwhile, has denied reports that it has cut down smartphone manufacturing.

The company, however, is reassessing its target to become the world’s top-selling smartphone vendor by 2020, after the US trade ban was put in place.

On May 15, US President Donald Trump effectively banned Huawei with a national security order.

Huawei has filed a motion in a US court challenging the constitutionality of the US President Donald Trump’s order to ban it.

Also Read- Samsung Galaxy M40 Tech Review: Stunning Display, Better Chipset

According to reports, Google has also discussed with the US government about an exemption from the Huawei ban, saying it is bad for the company’s technology business.

Despite all this, there is no respite seen for Huawei in the near future and the company is likely to witness its smartphone business dwindle.

Unless, a miracle happens. (IANS)