Nvidia teams up with Volkswagen and Uber in Self Driving Technology

Graphics chips designer, Nvidia Corp is going to partner with Uber, Volkswagen and Baidu, Chinese web Service Company to develop self-driving cars. This is an attempt by Nvidia’s artificial intelligence unit to expand into the autonomous vehicle trade. The company is already in trusts with carmaker Tesla for creating the technology of driverless cars.

At 2018, Consumer Electronics Show held in Las Vegas, CEO of Nvidia Jensen Huang announced that the instantaneous decisions taken by Uber’s self-driving cars operate on Nvidia technology. Since their first test on Volvo SC90 SUVs in 2016, Uber has been utilizing Nvidia’s GPU (graphics processing unit) computing system. Talking about the progress of Uber’s autonomous driving program, Nvidia claimed that in the past 100 days, one million miles had been covered. Huang also revealed that self –driving start-up Aurora will be using Nvidia’s latest Xavier processor in their vehicle systems. The Xavier processor which is also called as Volta is a highly advanced form of artificial intelligence with a faster and comprehensive structure. In the coming months, Nvidia will distribute powerful processors that will entail 30 trillion operations per millisecond with the usage of only 30 watts of power supply.

Volkswagen is said to incorporate Nvidia’s Drive IX platform, an artificial intelligence technology in their upcoming cars. This mechanism will provide a smart co-navigator facility determined by sensor data inside and outside the car. Drive IX will enhance the car with features like unlocking through facial recognition, gesture controls and voice assistance.

Globally, around 320 companies, including software designers and automakers are working in collaboration with Nvidia towards developing the driverless technology. Charting its growth, this Silicon Valley company will emerge as a leader in chips for driverless vehicles, data houses and artificial intelligence.


Sources: CNBC, Reuters

Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick rumored to sell 29% of his company stake

Taxi aggregating company Uber’s co-founder and CEO, Travis Kalanick is reported on planning to sell 29% of his

stake in the company amounting to $1.4bn. The transaction would be part of the tender offer in which SoftBank Group agreed to buy shares in Uber valuing it at $48 billion.

Kalanick, who resigned as CEO in June last year, owns 10% of the taxi offering company and is about to sell a third of them. Still on the Uber’s board of directors, Kalanick wanted to sell up to half of his shares but had to limit it due to the tender offer agreement.

In the previous year or so that saw Uber on the wrong side of the news, including accusations of a toxic workplace culture that led to an internal investigation over sexual harassment at the company, a hacking attack that stole personal information of 57 million passengers and 600,000 drivers, Kalanick’s resignation and, most recently, SoftBank’s investment in Uber; the move doesn’t come as a surprise.  Ironically, Kalanick had claimed during the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit in October 2016 that he has never sold a single Uber share, even while he was still paying his home mortgage.

Although a 2016 capital investment statistic valued Uber at $68.5bn, the value dropped down to $48bn in the recent valuation by SoftBank Group.


Sources: Indian Express , Business Insider

Uber to end post-trip tracking of riders

Uber Technologies Inc has decided to pull off the tracking feature from its app which allows it to track a customer up to five minutes post a trip.

Starting this week, ‘ability to share location data only while using the app’, will be rolled out to Apple Inc iPhone users. It comes at a time when Uber is trying to recover from a series of crises culminating in the ouster of Chief Executive Travis Kalanick and Dara Khosrowshahi, the CEO of travel-booking company Expedia Inc prepares to become Uber’s new chief executive, as reported by Reuters.

Joe Sullivan, Uber’s chief security officer, said that he and his team have been working to bring in better customer privacy at Uber since he joined in 2015.

The change comes in just two weeks after Uber settled a U.S. Federal Trade Commission complaint that the company unsuccessful in protecting the personal data of drivers and passengers and was deceptive about its efforts to prevent snooping by its employees.

Sullivan said, the location-tracking update will initially only be available to iPhone users, but Uber intends to bring this change to Android devices as well.

These changes are a part of a series of updates expected in the upcoming year to increase privacy, security, and transparency at Uber, Sullivan added.


Sources- Reuters and NDTV



Uber leases out over a thousand defective cars to drivers in Singapore

Uber, the US ride-hailing giant, has the reputation of being “a dumpster fire” owing to their tendency of hurdling from one crisis to another. They are now facing an actual fire disaster with one of the recalled Honda Vezels, they purchased and rented out, bursting into flames, according to The Verge.

 Wall Street Journal reported Uber purchasing over thousand Honda Vezels which they leased to Singapore drivers, despite Honda recalling this model due to defective electrical components. Unfortunately, for Uber, one of these cars caught fire, melting the dashboard and windshield. Luckily, neither the passengers nor the driver, Koh Seng Tian, was hurt in this distressing incident.

Uber, in a statement to CNET, said, “As soon as we learned of a Honda Vezel from the Lion City Rental fleet catching fire, we took swift action to fix the problem, in close coordination with Singapore’s Land Transport Authority as well as technical experts. But we acknowledge we could have done more – and we have done so.” They have now established strict protocols and appointed three experts to guarantee a responsive system for safety recalls.

Co-Founder and ex-CEO, Travis Kalanick was pressured into stepping down in June with regard to the tumultuous year 2017 has been for Uber. His resignation was a result of US Attorney General, Eric Holder investigating sexual harassment claims against him. The inspection resulted in a recommendation of changing senior leadership in the company.

Sources – GadgetsNDTV, The Verge

Uber Removes Self-driving Cars from San Francisco

Facing a regulatory crackdown, Uber Technologies Inc. has removed its self-driving cars from the roads of San Francisco, one week post the launch of its autonomous program.

The registration of 16 self-driving cars was revoked by the California Department of Motor Vehicles, citing lack of proper permit as the reason. The agency had been demanding that Uber shut down its program for the past week, asking them to follow regulations and get the right permit to test the self-driving cars on public roads.

On the other hand, Uber has emphasised that a permit was not acquired, as their vehicles require continuous monitoring by the driver in the car.

After the initial launch in Pittsburgh, in September for ground-testing, San Francisco was picked as the second city to test-drive the cars. The company is now looking for other locations to launch their cars, with California remaining as the primary location for test-drives, reports The Indian Express.

The state of California defines autonomous vehicles as having the potential to drive “…without the active physical control or monitoring of a natural person”. Uber, however, argues that its vehicles don’t fall under this category as it relies on a driver and an engineer to handle the car in all traffic situations.

It is yet to be seen whether Uber will try to get the permit or shift to another state altogether.


Sources: Reuters, Live Mint

Uber Launches ‘UberFleet’ across India

Uber, the America-based taxi aggregator app, on Tuesday announced the launch of its new android app UberFLEET across 29 cities in India. This newly launched app is designed for  the increase in the overall productivity and the better management  fleet partners of Uber in Inda.

By launching the UberFleet, Uber has made an attempt to make the process of managing drivers more efficient and reducing their downtime.

The Largest taxi app, is now known for raising the small entrepreneurs in India. “Uber is at forefront of micro-entrepreneurship opportunity creation in India and UberFleet app is yet another step towards encouraging and support the entrepreneurial ambitions of our fleet partners,” said Head of Engineering Uber India, Apurva Dalal.

The UberFLEET come with features like Live map, which helps the fleet owners to track the real time location of the driver, trip drop point and the point location where they went offline from.  The driver dashboard is also a new addition in the app which allows the partners to track daily and weekly trips, the earnings both cash and non-cash and ratings.

The fleet partners can simply download the app from Google app store and can login with same credentials they use to login on web. Once they login, they will see the live map of their fleet and driver locations.

SOURCES : ANI, News 18

Image Source : The Independent

Google takes over Uber, Lyft with new sharing service- Waze Ride

Google’s new carpooling service- Waze Ride, will compete with popular market giants Uber and Lyft in a bid to expand a San-Francisco carpooling program, reported NDTV.

The plans are based on the test service of Google’s navigation app Waze, which was launched three months ago in the San- Francisco Bay Area.

The program enables a limited pool of people using the Waze app, to carpool to and from work in an easy and cost effective manner.

As of now, only employees of six companies, including Google, Adobe Systems and Walmart stores are able to request rides. However, as per spokeswoman Julie Mossler, the tests have worked up to the satisfaction of the company, thus encouraging Waze to enter into the next phase and allow anyone in the Bay area to request a ride, by the end of this year.

Unlike Uber, the objective of Waze isn’t to make money for itself or the drivers offering to share a ride. Instead, it sets a variable fee of up to 54 cents per mile, which is supposed to reimburse the drivers for gasoline and maintenance of their vehicles.

In addition, Waze also limits trips to a rider’s work or home, with a maximum of two trips permissible per day. Only one rider per vehicle is allowed while using this service. Although the service is available for riders at any time during the day, Waze is focused on providing more trips during peak commute hours in the mornings and evenings.


Sources: NDTVWSJ.