Yandex and Uber to Create New Self-Driving Auto Company

Uber and Yandex are turning the autonomous vehicle portion of their joint venture into a new company which will give Yandex more control over the business and allow for new investors.

Yandex, the largest internet company in Russia, will be investing $150 million in this new company, according to Yandex. That company supposedly buying part of Uber’s stake as well. The Moscow based company will then own 73% of the new company, leaving 19% to Uber and the rest to the new company’s management.

Yandex is also giving over its own ride share business, MLU BV, that includes ride-hailing and food delivery.

These changes provide Yandex more wiggle room to develop technology.

Last year Uber separated its self-driving unit to seek new investors.

Yandex declined to comment further.



Uber Goes Old School

Uber is trying out a new-to-them method of communicating with customers who want to hail on of their ride. What is this method? A regular old phone call

This new service is being tested in Arizona and is aimed at older users who aren’t hip to the Uber’s app-based service. The service is even more low-tech than first glances reveal—Uber users would call a number from any mobile phone to speak with a live operator (in Spanish or English) who servers as a go between for the rider and the driver. Essentially, the operator works the app for the customer.

Users would need a mobile that at least has basic texting functions to receive messages about ETA, details about the driver and the car as well as digital receipts.

Uber says an account can easily be setup the first time a user calls so there is no need to even pre-register. The only additional charge for the service would be standard carrier rate for sending and receiving text messages.

Uber says the service will be available soon all across the United States.


Uber Expands Its “Side Gig” Service Beyond Driving with Uber Works Temp Job App

Uber has been piloting a temp staffing service in Chicago. The service, Uber Works, will connect users with businesses who need short-term workers in hospitality, light industrial, events and other sectors. Miami is Uber Works next planned home.

Initially the service has connected workers from your usual staffing agencies with work; however, the service will expand to invite its large driver pool to these temp jobs as well. But you won’t have to be an Uber driver, have a car or a driver’s license to use Uber Works in its final form. Anyone with a smart phone will be able to use the service to find temporary work.

Uber Works, according to Uber, is just one part of a plan to leverage the technology and workers they already have into other service areas beyond ridesharing.

During testing in Chicago Uber Works connected workers with restaurants and Uber’s trucking business customers. They then added short-term warehouse and industrial jobs. And just like their ride hailing service, Uber Works sets up back up workers in case the first-choice cancels.

Right now, Uber Works is essentially a buffer between the worker and staffing agencies which handle payroll, benefits, etc. Uber will continue to expand the reach of Works in Miami.

Uber to Offer Helicopter Ride Hailing in NYC

It looks like Uber is taking to the skies in New York City as the company gears up to offer a helicopter service in the Big Apple. As with the current app, users will be able to order up flight service on the new “Uber Copter” app. Test flights have already happened on routes between a Wall Street heliport and JFK International.

The service is going to open to the public on July 9th in NYC and will cost about $225 per passenger. Uber supposedly has plans to offer the service in other major cities.

This kind of service isn’t all that new in New York City. A start up by the name of Blade Urban Air Mobility has been offering a similar service through a mobile app with regular flights from Manhattan to three area airports, six days a week for around $200 a passenger.

When Uber went public last month spokes people focused a lot on Uber’s investment all kinds of transportation. While being the world’s largest ride-hailing service, Uber also runs scooter rentals, electric bikes, cars and now has added helicopters to the list.


Uber Opens Safety Center in Brazil

Uber’s Safety Product Director Sachin Kansal said in a meeting that throughout the following five years Uber would finance an office with around 150 tech masters in Sao Paulo, where the organization gives a larger number of rides than anyplace on the planet.

The improvement focus, Uber’s first in Latin America and one of twelve around the globe, will open before the finish of 2018.

Brazil is Uber’s second-biggest national market after the United States, with 1 billion rides in the previous four years and a gainful main concern, as indicated by administrators. However the basic of tolerating money for rides as opposed to depending exclusively using a credit card and check cards has additionally brought safety challenges.

CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, who took control one year back, has said security is Uber’s best need.

While in the United States and other created markets concerns have concentrated on the security of riders, in developing markets the risk can cut both courses, as drivers tolerating money have moved toward becoming focuses for assaults.

New devices help to affirm the character of clients without charge cards, he said. One such strategy, which requires what might as well be called a government managed savings number for a rider to pay with money, was presented a year ago after a spike in assaults.

Uber additionally enables drivers and riders to impart their areas continuously to contacts. The level of Uber clients that actuate the element is in the “high single digits,” he said.

Careem, Middle-East ride-hailing service, to raise $500 Million in New Capital

Middle East ride-hailing app Careem wants to raise as much as $500 million in new funds from investors.

Careem, Uber’s rival in the region, is testing the waters for potential investors and hopes to drum up its targeted $500 million in a new funding, according to anonymous sources.

Some of the money could go towards new business ventures. Careem may be looking to diversify its asset base ahead of a potential initial public offering. Careem has mentioned on numerous occasions they may go public.

Careem, who is serving 90 different cities, said it is eager to enter new markets. These include Tunisia and Algeria. They’ve already started the move to diversify by announcing the acquisition of restaurant listing reservation platform RoundMenu. With this addition Careem hopes to experiment with food delivery similar to Uber Eats.

FBI Investigates Uber for Alleged Espionage

The FBI is investigating Uber who is under suspicion for illegally tampering with the operations of competitors, according to the Wall Street Journal. The focus of the investigation centers on a software program known internally at Uber as “Hell” that could be used to track drivers working for rival service Lyft.

The program, discontinued last year, allowed Uber to create fake accounts and track drivers and ride prices. This also allowed Uber to obtain data on drivers who worked with both the car-ride providers and could have allowed it to lure drivers to leave Lyft with cash incentives.

At the time of the WSJ publication Uber could not be reached for comment.

The key question for investigators was whether the program comprised of unauthorized access of a computer. The investigation is being led by the FBI’s New York office and the Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office.

Google Search Leader to Lead Uber Self-Driving Division

Uber Technologies, the popular ride-hailing company, has announced they hired Amit Singhal, the man behind Google search, to work closely with Uber CEO Travis Kalanick to help grow the Uber self-driving car program.

Singhal announced on his personal blog that after 15 years leading Google’s search division, Alphabet, Inc., he will take on the role as senior VP of engineering at Uber and act as adviser to Kalanick as well as Anthony Levandowski who leads the Uber’s self-driving division. In his blog Singhal noted that he was excited and lovingly called Uber a “geeks candy store.”

Uber debuted its self-driving car pilot in Pittsburgh, PA, in September. It launched a second fleet in San Francisco last month, but a feud with California regulators over Uber’s failure to obtain proper permitting compelled the company to take its autonomous testing cars off the streets.

Uber then packed up its cars and brought them to Arizona, where there are no special regulations for autonomous testing.
Singhal announced his intentions to leave Google a year ago.

Uh-oh. Say it isn’t so!

This week, Uber launched a fleet of self-driving Volvo SUVs. Within hours, one of these cars ran a red light. The video below was recorded from a Luxor cab in San Francisco. That same day, someone in a Lyft car witnessed another similar incident.

Uber claims these incidents were due to human error as right now, they are requiring people to be seated behind the steering wheels. Drivers have been suspended over this.

Joe tells Jody about a new way to ride.

Imagine getting the family all packed in the car ready to drive to your vacation destination. Imagine everyone sitting in their seats reading their email, watching a dvd, or even Netflix. Everyone. Even you the “driver.” How can this be?

Imagine you arrive at the airport. You call for a car. No one is in it. It takes you to your hotel.

Imagine the car of the future. Driverless.

That may be sooner rather than later. Google has been commissioned by Uber to produce 2500 driverless cars. The cars will have wi-fi connectivity.

The future is here, Jody.

~ Joe Victor