Sep 14, 2017

Uber's autonomous cars have driven 1 million miles

In this Monday, Sept. 12, 2016, file photo, a self-driving Uber sits ready to take journalists for a ride during a media preview in Pittsburgh. Photo: Gene J. Puskar/AP

A year ago today, Uber began to offer rides to Pittsburgh passengers in a fleet of its self-driving cars. Since then, it has expanded this test program to Tempe, Ariz. and has also put some non-passenger cars in San Francisco.

  • To date, Uber's self-driving cars have raked in 1 million miles in autonomous mode (including passenger trips and testing) since the company opened its Advanced Technologies Group 2.5 years ago. This is a bit tricky to put into context as not all companies disclose the number of miles driven with the same time and location parameters, but here's a sampling of testing in California in 2016.
  • Uber's cars have completed 30,000 passenger trips in the past year in Pittsburgh and Tempe/Phoenix.

Still: Uber's self-driving efforts haven't all gone smoothly.

  • In December, the company halted its testing in San Francisco after a scuffle with California's DMV over its lack of an autonomous driving permit (the cars eventually returned on the road).
  • Then in February, Alphabet's self-driving car unit, Waymo, sued the company for allegedly stealing trade secrets when it acquired a startup founded by a former employee. The case is headed to jury trial next month, though it's still unclear how it will conclude.
  • Uber's relationship with Pittsburgh has also been strained at times, with city officials claiming the company didn't deliver on all its promises in bringing the test program to the community, as was reported by the NYT earlier this year.

What it means:

Uber's acquisition of a self-driving truck startup Otto last year was seen as way to help it catch up to companies already significantly ahead. But Uber also made a long list of talented hires over the last two years, many of which are still there. And while it's still early in its development, Uber may not be doing as badly as some have assumed based on the recent controversies (though more data is needed for a more accurate assessment).

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9:30 a.m. ET: 737,929 — Total deaths: 35,019 — Total recoveries: 156,507.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in cases. Total confirmed cases as of 9:30 a.m. ET: 143,055 — Total deaths: 2,513 — Total recoveries: 4,865.
  3. Federal government latest: The White House will extend its social distancing guidelines until April 30.
  4. Trump latest: The president brushed aside allegations that China is spreading misinformation about the origin of the coronavirus on "Fox & Friends."
  5. Business updates: Americans are calm about their retirement savings despite coronavirus fallout.
  6. World updates: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will self-isolate after an aide tested positive for coronavirus.
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

BIG3 to create a hybrid reality show about quarantine basketball

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Sports are on pause, and there's no timetable for their return. In the interim, leagues, teams and athletes are getting creative with ways to keep fans engaged.

The latest: A "quarantined reality show basketball tournament," courtesy of the BIG3, the upstart 3-on-3 basketball league founded by Ice Cube and his longtime business partner Jeff Kwatinetz.

Go deeperArrow23 mins ago - Sports

Trump on coronavirus misinformation from China: "Every country does it"

President Trump brushed aside allegations that China — as well as Russia and Iran — are spreading misinformation about the origin of the coronavirus during a 64-minute call with "Fox & Friends" on Monday, telling the hosts that "every country does it."

Why it matters: Multiple verified Chinese government Twitter accounts have promoted different conspiracy theories, and Chinese foreign ministry deputy spokesperson Zhao Lijian suggested that the virus come from a U.S. military lab, Axios' Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian reports.

Go deeperArrow38 mins ago - World