Uber has unveiled plans for a flying taxi at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The ride-sharing company on Tuesday showed off a full-size mock-up of the electric plane concept vehicle created with South Korean carmaker Hyundai, as it seeks to fly above traffic rather than add to it. Uber hopes to operate commercial air ride-sharing services by 2023.
A former Google engineer was charged Tuesday with stealing self-driving car technology from the company shortly before he joined Uber’s efforts to catch up in the high-stakes race to build robotic vehicles. Uber agreed to settle the case for $245 million last year, but the presiding judge made an unusual recommendation to open a criminal probe after seeing enough evidence to conclude a theft may have occurred.
A US jury has found that a former Uber driver living in Virginia committed acts of torture during Somalia’s civil war in the late 1980s. Somali citizen Farhan Tani Warfaa testified last week in the Washington DC suburbs that ex-Somali colonel Yusuf Abdi Ali shot and tortured him. Ali was a commander in the national army and supporter of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre, say court documents. Mr Warfaa said he was kidnapped from his home in northern Somalia by a group of Ali’s soldiers in 1987. Until this month, Ali drove for Uber, with a high 4.89 rating.
Uber is under Federal investigation for discrimination against women in hiring and pay, another inquiry into the company rocked by scandals. The probe investigating gender-based discrimination by the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission began last August. Uber says they have made changes in the last 18 months, including new salary and equity rules.
Uber announced their decision to sell their South East Asia ride-share and food delivery services to regional rival Grab for a 27.5% stake in Grab and a spot on Grab’s board for Uber’s chief executive officer. The deal is the third in a pattern where Uber gives control to regional rivals in exchange for shares.
The preliminary report released on Thursday by the National Transportation Safety Board confirmed early police reports and showed that a built-in emergency braking system was disabled before a self-driving Uber vehicle struck and killed a pedestrian in March. A day before the report was released, Uber announced it is shutting down testing operations in Arizona.
Following last week’s fatal accident, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey suspended Uber from testing self-driving vehicles. Arizona was a key testing hub for Uber, a company in competition with Alphabet Inc.’s Waymo in developing autonomous vehicle technology. Waymo CEO John Krafcik commented saying Waymo has ‘a lot of confidence’ their technology would have prevented the accident.
After losing its London license, Uber CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, apologized for the company’s “mistakes” in an open letter on Monday. London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, who in the past received aggressive statements from Uber accepted the apology and has directed the city’s transport regulator to meet with Uber CEO.
In a surprising $3.7 billion deal, Uber’s Russian Taxi hailing operation is teaming up with their rival, Russian search giant, Yandex, and announced this to the world just yesterday. The new company is yet to be named. Once the deal passes regulatory approval, Uber will own just under 40% of the company.
The Federal Trade Commission has agreed to a settlement with Uber to two decades of privacy and security audits to settle federal accusations. These privacy measures were announced after Uber employees were found using a tool known as “God View” to track trips taken by users.