Uber's wrong turn

FOX News

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has resigned from the ride-sharing service he co-founded, another twist in a rough year for the company. There's also a court battle stemming from allegations that Uber stole trade secrets from Waymo, Alphabet's (GOOGL) self-driving car development company. Waymo alleges that Anthony Levandowski - a former top manager for Google's self-driving car project - stole pivotal technology from Google before leaving to run Uber's self-driving car division. Uber's board releases Holder's recommendations, which include removing some of Kalanick's responsibilities and replacing Uber's chairman and founder, Garrett Camp, with an independent chairman.

Honda's Self-Driving Approach Starts With the Acura NSX Supercar


A recent report puts Honda in 15th place amongst automotive and technology companies in the battle to create a self-driving car, well behind leaders like General Motors, Ford, and Waymo. Trust can't replace the hard engineering work that underpins autonomy, of course, and Honda's cautious approach risks alienating consumers who want or expect it to go further, faster. "People would trust Honda coming out with an autonomous vehicle over most any other brand," Edwards says. It's a tingly, electric feeling--but a good one.

How Artificial Intelligence Is Reshaping, Personalizing The Beauty Industry

International Business Times

New York-based Headliner is just one of many companies creating custom AI chatbots for beauty brands. For example, earlier this week the tech-savvy marketing company Dynamic Yield launched an AI collaboration with Sephora Southeast Asia, to create customized shopping experiences for shoppers from Australia to Indonesia directly on Sephora's websites, newsletters and mobile platforms. Brands live Covergirl and Shiseido are even launching AI-powered mobile apps to help shoppers find products that match their complexions perfectly. Dynamic Yield, which counts Chinese AI innovation driver Baidu among its investors, has also worked with companies like Urban Outfitters and Lamoda, just to name a few.

PSA Group semi-autonomous cars arrive this year; full autonomy in 2020


The first PSA car with'hands-off' Level 2 autonomous system will be the DS 7 Crossback SUV, which is due for launch early in 2018. Equipped with a Level 2 system called Connected Pilot, the 7 Crossback will be capable of maintaining lane and choosing station to the left or right of the lane to allow cycles or motorcycles to pass. PSA will phase in Level 3 'eyes-off' autonomous cars from 2020, with two systems called Traffic Jam Chauffeur and Highway Chauffeur. The company plans to phase in fully autonomous Level 4 'mind-off' cars from 2025 with Level 5, completely driverless cars beyond 2030.

Talking to your car is better than ever, thanks to Nuance's voice assistant


Nuance Communications is the company responsible for the original voice recognition and speech technology for Siri, and the parent of one of the oldest and most-respected voice recognition systems, Dragon Naturally Speaking. One of the key themes, said Nuance Dragon Drive Solutions Marketing Manager Robert Policano, who was seated behind the driver in the Chrysler, is artificial intelligence and "how we use it on top of speech recognition and natural language processing to make it more contextual, offer more relevant results, and make it more humanized." When Ben-Gigi accepted, Dragon Drive pulled up gas stations with a focus on the brand he preferred. "While Apple is building an Apple experience, Nuance is helping BMW build the BMW experience," said Policano.

Uber's Other Big Problem: Driverless Cars Aren't Ready Yet

MIT Technology Review

For the past eight years, Uber's chief executive officer and co-founder Travis Kalanick played the role of disruptive entrepreneur with wild abandon--and to great effect. If the privately-held company were to go public in the future at anything approaching its current valuation of around $60 billion, taking a bite out of the $40 billion a year global taxi business would be table stakes. By improving its brand and improving relations with drivers, Uber can reverse recent declines in its share of the ride-hailing market, and generate tens of billions in annual revenue by taking share from the $40 billion global taxi industry. On Monday, the Japanese investment company Softbank announced a $100 million investment in 99.

The End of Car Ownership

Wall Street Journal

And startups will spring up to develop services that this new ownership model demands--perhaps even create whole new industries around self-driving cars and ride sharing. A study by Deloitte Consulting, for example, estimates that the cost of personal car ownership is on average 97 cents a mile today but could drop by two-thirds in a world of shared, self-driving vehicles--a tipping point that could usher the technology into daily life for many people. As a result of both driverless cars and fleets of robot taxis, sales of conventionally purchased automobiles may likely drop. Zoox, a startup valued at more than $1.5 billion, is working on designing a robot taxi that takes the entire riding experience into consideratio

Uber's rocky year: Travis Kalanick's resignation is just the latest thing

Los Angeles Times

The plaintiff, identified only as Jane Doe, filed the lawsuit against Uber's chief executive, Travis Kalanick; its former head of business, Emil Michael; and its former vice president of business in Asia, Eric Alexander. Uber CEO Travis Kalanick announced in a memo to employees that he was taking a leave of absence, acknowledging a humiliating year in which the company was accused of mishandling the medical records of a passenger who was raped by an Uber driver in India; of using trade secrets allegedly stolen from a self-driving car firm that belongs to Google's parent company; and of covering up sexual harassment allegations. Emil Michael -- Uber's senior vice president of business and Chief Executive Travis Kalanick's right-hand man -- has left the ride-hailing company, according to an email he sent to employees. Executive fired after reports he shared rape victim's medical records Eric Alexander, Uber's president of business in the Asia-Pacific region, was fired after questions were raised about reports that he obtained and shared with other executives the medical records of a woman who was raped by her Uber driver in India in 2014.

We Finally Know Exactly What Happened in Last Year's Fatal Tesla Autopilot Crash


Interestingly, that suggests the truck driver could have foreseen the crash--if he had assumed the car would maintain a constant speed. The witness said the Model S was visible to the truck over the crest of a rise in the freeway for "several seconds" before the truck began its left turn. The implication is that the driver either didn't see the Model S coming or assumed--perhaps naturally, given the truck's size and visibility--that the Tesla's driver would brake or change lanes to avoid the collision. That seems like a safe assumption when the driver is human but perhaps less so when the driver is an automated system.

To Whoever Replaces Travis Kalanick as Uber CEO, Some Unsolicited Advice!


Better hire that General Counsel! Alphabet's self-driving car company alleges that when we hired Waymo's former employee Anthony Levandowski to run the autonomous car business, he brought along 14,000 technical documents with him. Given that our long-term viability hinges on a fleet of autonomous taxis (independent contractors and their lawsuits are so expensive!) But with your help, we truly believe we can once again make Uber the Uber of Ubers.