Nov 15, 2019

Uber's driverless technology strategy

Uber self-driving test vehicles in Pittsburgh. Photo: Angelo Merendino/AFP via Getty Images

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi says the first AVs could be deployed on the ride-hailing network within three to five years, but other companies will bear the cost of owning and maintaining those self-driving cars.

Why it matters: Driverless technology is a key to profitability for Uber, which has warned investors to expect losses of almost $3 billion this year. But if all it does is replace the cost of a human driver with the overhead from managing its own fleet of self-driving cars, it won't be any closer to achieving a profit.

  • "Marriott doesn't own a single hotel, right? There are these financial entities that own the hotels. Marriott is the brand," Khosrowshahi tells Axios.
  • "There are going to be financial players ... who own these cars. There will be operating companies that take care of [them], refuel them, repair them, etc. And then we want to be the operating system that drives the car."

Catch up fast: Khosrowshahi talked about financials, autonomy, rider safety, unions and politics during a wide-ranging "Axios on HBO" interview with Dan Primack and Mike Allen.

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Transportation Safety Board backs assessments for self-driving cars

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will recommend mandatory safety assessments for all self-driving cars before they can be tested on public roads, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: The NTSB on Tuesday said it intends to pinpoint the need for “safety risk management requirements for testing automated vehicles on public roads,” leading to the broader question of how autonomous vehicles are tested and how the U.S. government oversees that process.

Go deeperArrowNov 19, 2019

Waymo's progress on AVs seems reminiscent of Wright brothers

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A leading AV developer this week said self-driving cars just quietly had their "Kitty Hawk moment."

The big picture: It was a surprising assertion as the hype around self-driving cars has calmed, and most companies are recalibrating their plans for AVs. But in his optimistic blog post, Voyage CEO Oliver Cameron wrote Waymo's recent expansion of "rider-only" taxi service for early adopters near Phoenix, Ariz. puts us in a "post-driverless world."

Go deeperArrowNov 15, 2019

Uber struggles with 'open secret' of shared driver accounts

Photo: Peter Summers/Getty Images

Since London decided to revoke Uber's operating license, the city's transportation regulator found that 14,000 rides in late 2018 and early 2019 were completed by unverified drivers who had "rented" a real driver's account, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Why it matters: Uber says shared driver accounts are a global problem, including in the U.S. An Uber spokesperson told the Wall Street Journal the company has adjusted its policies in London to combat the issue, but it still not a "silver bullet."

Go deeperArrowNov 28, 2019