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Uber Paid Hackers To Keep Breach A Secret; How To Check If You’re At Risk 23
Posted by Michael Karkafiris in Reports, Uber, video on 11 23rd, 2017

After suffering from a massive breach that had the data from 57 million riders and drivers stolen, Uber paid the hackers to conceal the event which was kept a secret until now.

The huge hack took place in October 2016 and only now the ride-hailing giant came forward and made the official announcement.

The stolen data included names, email addresses and phone numbers of 50 million Uber customers as well as the personal information on seven million Uber drivers, including around 600,000 driver’s license plates.

Uber claims that no social security numbers, credit card information, trip location details or other were taken during the attack. The company also says that it paid the two individuals responsible for the attack $100,000 in order to delete the stolen data and remain quiet.

Drivers who had their license numbers exposed are being individually notified, with Uber providing them with free credit monitoring and identity theft protection. The company is also in contact with regulatory authorities.

Uber has fired its chief security officer Joe Sullivan and one of his deputies for their role in keeping the breach a secret. During the time of the attack, Uber was in the middle of negotiations with U.S. regulators who were investigating separate claims of privacy violations.

The ride-hailing firm now acknowledges it had a legal obligation to report the hack to authorities and to the affected drivers. Instead, they decided to pay the hackers in order to delete the data and remain silent about the attack.

“None of this should have happened, and I will not make excuses for it. While I can’t erase the past, I can commit on behalf of every Uber employee that we will learn from our mistakes”, said Dara Khosrowshahi who became Uber’s Chief Executive Officer last September and claims he didn’t learn of the attack until recently.

“We are changing the way we do business, putting integrity at the core of every decision we make and working hard to earn the trust of our customers.”

Following Uber’s announcement, NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman launched an investigation into the hack while Uber was also hit with a lawsuit over the breach by a customer, seeking class-action status.

What should you do about it?

Uber drivers can find out if their data was stolen on this link. Uber says that the affected accounts belonging to riders are currently monitored and have been additionally updated with extra fraud protection but there’s currently no official way of finding out if your rider’s account has been breached.

Uber claims that outside forensic experts “have not seen any indication that trip location history, credit card numbers, bank account numbers, Social Security numbers or dates of birth were downloaded”.

That’s not exactly reassuring so you may want to take some real precaution measures, like changing your password, set up credit monitoring, going through your accounts for any suspicious activity and even issuing a credit freeze to allow you complete control over new transactions.


Uber Creating Tech To Eliminate Motion Sickness In Autonomous Cars 22
Posted by Brad Anderson in Autonomous, Reports, Tech, Uber on 11 22nd, 2017

Uber is hoping to ensure its upcoming fleet of self-driving vehicles don’t trigger car sickness among passengers.

To do so, the ride-hailing company has applied for a patent on a selection of technologies to counter motion sickness, The Guardian reports.

In the patent are features like light bars and screens that signal the car’s intentions, vibrating and moving seats, and a flow of air that targets the face and other parts of the body in order to prevent passengers from getting sick. Uber doesn’t intend on providing stimulation to mimic the experience of the car moving, but instead wants to distract the brain when the car turns, accelerates or brakes.

In the patent, Uber says, “With the advent of autonomous vehicle technology, rider attention may be focused on alternative activities, such as work, socializing, reading, writing, task-based activities and the like.”

“As the autonomous vehicle travels along an inputted route, kinetosis (motion sickness) can result from the perception of motion by a rider not corresponding to the rider’s vestibular [balance and spatial orientation] senses.”

One intriguing feature of autonomous vehicles from Uber could be seats that automatically adjust their pitch, roll and/or yaw depending on what the car is doing.


Uber Fined $8.9 Million In Colorado For Employing Unqualified Drivers 21
Posted by Brad Anderson in Reports, Tech, Uber on 11 21st, 2017

Uber has been fined $8.9 million in Colorado for allowing 57 people to drive with the company despite not meeting requirements.

During a probe into the ride-hailing company, the Colorado Public Utilities Commission said it discovered 12 drivers with felony convictions, 17 with significant moving-vehicle violations and three drivers with a special license only issued to those with drunk-driving convictions.

In a statement issued to Automotive News, commission director Doug Dean said the drivers should never have been permitted to work for Uber.

“We have determined that Uber had background check information that should have disqualified these drivers under the law, but they were allowed to drive anyway.”

Uber claims that it had made an error in its background check process in Colorado and is working to correct the issue.


Uber Getting Thousands Of Autonomous Robo-Taxis From Volvo 20
Posted by Sergiu Tudose in Autonomous, Reports, SPA, Tech, Uber, VOLVO, Volvo XC90 on 11 20th, 2017

Volvo will be supplying ride-sharing giant Uber with up to 24,000 autonomous drive compatible vehicles between 2019 and 2021.

These cars will be based on Volvo’s fully modular Scalable Product Architecture (SPA), which is currently being used on the Swedish automaker’s 90-series cars, as well as on the new XC60 SUV.

“The automotive industry is being disrupted by technology and Volvo Cars chooses to be an active part of that disruption,” said Volvo boss, Hakan Samuelsson. “Our aim is to be the supplier of choice for AD ride-sharing service providers globally. Today’s agreement with Uber is a primary example of that strategic direction.”

These base XC90 premium SUVs that will be supplied to Uber feature all necessary safety, redundancy and core autonomous driving technologies required by the ride sharing company. The only thing left for Uber to do is add its own self-driving features.

“We’re thrilled to expand our partnership with Volvo”, said Uber’s head of auto alliances, Jeff Miller. “This new agreement puts us on a path towards mass produced self-driving vehicles at scale.”

When asked when Uber might be debuting these self-driving cars in the U.S., Miller told Autonews that it’s “sooner than most people think,” adding that his company’s objective is to “be able to operate them [the cars] without anyone behind the wheel in select cities and environments.” In other words, he’s talking about Level 4 autonomous driving, as level 5 is still far off into the future.

“I don’t know of anyone in the world who is saying they will be able to do Level 5, which is autonomous all the time everywhere in every use case.”

Even though Uber won’t be fiddling with the XC90’s powertrain, Miller also said that several modifications had to be made to the car’s steering and braking systems.

“Those are two elements that we are making modifications to so the vehicle can operate as a Level 4 autonomous vehicles as opposed to just Level 2 or Level 3. We also have to embed sensors around the vehicle. In addition to what you see on the roof, there are several sensors behind the fascia of the vehicle.”

Of course, the fact that they’re starting off with the existing XC90 makes things easier on both companies.

“This would not be possible if it was a special [one-off] vehicle,” confirmed Samuelsson.

While providing Uber with these AD-compatible cars, Volvo will also use them for its own independent autonomous car strategy, which should lead to the release of a fully autonomous model in 2021.


UK Tribunal Says Local Uber Drivers Are Employees 15
Posted by Brad Anderson in Reports, Tech, Uber on 11 15th, 2017

An employment tribunal in the UK has concluded that Uber drivers in the country are not independent contractors and instead, employees of the ride-hailing company.

At the heart of the case were James Farrar and Yaseen Aslam, two men challenging Uber on behalf of a group of 19 drivers. They alleged that the company had denied them basic protections awarded to employees by suggesting that they were self-employed.

The ruling means that Uber must ensure its drivers in the UK receive a minimum wage and paid time off, points which will conflict with the firm’s current hiring model that involves workers without formal contracts.

In an interview with The New York Times after the tribunal ruling, Aslam said thousands of drivers will be affected by the decision.

“You can hide behind technology, but the laws are there, and they need to be obeyed and respected. The impact of this ruling could affect thousands of drivers, and not just drivers but millions of workers across the U.K. It just means we can’t be exploited,” he said.

This isn’t the first time Uber has caused headlines in the UK. In September, London’s regulator of public transportation, Transport for London, decided against renewing Uber’s license to operate in the capital city.


Uber Accepts $10 Billion Investment, Will Limit Kalanick Influence 15
Posted by Brad Anderson in Reports, Tech, Uber on 11 15th, 2017

Uber has accepted an investment of up to $10 billion and will limit the control of former chief executive Travis Kalanick.

Bloomberg reports that Uber has agreed to let SoftBank Group Corp and other firms invest up to $1 billion in the ride-hailing service. The companies will then proceed with a tender offer in coming weeks to purchase up to $9 billion in shares from existing investors.

In a statement, Uber said the investment will secure its longevity.

“We’ve entered into an agreement with a consortium led by SoftBank and Dragoneer on a potential investment. We believe this agreement is a strong vote of confidence in Uber’s long-term potential. Upon closing, it will help fuel our investments in technology and our continued expansion at home and abroad, while strengthening our corporate governance.”

As part of the deal, Uber shareholder Benchmark Capital will drop a lawsuit it has against Travis Kalanick. The former chief executive will retain his position on the firm’s board of directors and keep his power to appoint two extra seats. However, further changes he may want will require a majority approval from the board.


Study Says Ride-Hailing Services Will Lead To Declining Car Sales 14
Posted by Sergiu Tudose in Electric Vehicles, Lyft, PHEV, Reports, Study, Uber on 11 14th, 2017

According to a study by IHS Markit, global car sales will be on the decline over the next two decades as consumers are set to embrace on-demand car-hailing services.

While about 80 million vehicles per year are currently sold in the U.S., Europe, China and India, these numbers are anticipated to drop to 54 million over the next 23 years.

The study also points to all-electric vehicles accounting for about 19% of all-sales by the year 2040, with plug-in hybrids accounting for another 14% of sales. Meanwhile, cars powered by petrol or diesel will make up about 62% of new car sales in the previously-mentioned markets.

“A great ‘automotive paradox’ – where more travel via car than ever, but fewer cars will be needed by individuals – will be a defining quality of the new automotive future,” said IHS Markit, vice chairman, Daniel Yergin, while adding that this shift is “just the beginning.”

The mobility service industry itself will buy more than 10 million cars in 2040 in the four markets analyzed in this study. This would mark a significant increase compared to the roughly 300,000 used in 2017, reports Autonews.

Ironically, even though fewer cars will be sold in the future, demand for petroleum is expected to go up, from the current 98 million barrels per day, to 115 million barrels in 2040 – however, it’s important to note that cars will only account for a third of total oil demand.


Uber Partners With NASA To Get Flying Taxis In The Air By 2020 8
Posted by Sergiu Tudose in Autonomous, Flying Cars, Reports, Tech, Uber on 11 8th, 2017

Uber and NASA have just finalized a deal that should make “on demand aviation” a reality.

The ride-hailing giant hopes to start testing in 2020, with flying taxis getting trial runs in Dubai, Dallas-Forth Worth, as well as Los Angeles. The announcement was made at the Web Summit tech conference in Lisbon.

Now, the goal is to figure out how to make vertical take-off and landing vehicles that can operate safely while flying at a low altitude. By the way, technically, such a vehicle would be more plane than car.

“UberAir will be performing far more flights on a daily basis than it has ever been done before. Doing this safely and efficiently is going to require a foundational change in airspace management technologies,” said Uber chief product officer, Jeff Holden.

“Combining Uber’s software engineering expertise with NASA’s decades of airspace experience to tackle this is a crucial step forward for Uber Elevate.”

Earlier this year, Uber contacted authorities in Dubai and the Dallas-Fort Worth area in order to test its flying taxis in those regions. Now, we’ve learned that the ride-hailing company also plans on performing trial runs in Los Angeles in 2020, aiming to get the service up and running before the 2028 LA Olympics.

“We are bringing uberAIR to Los Angeles in no small part because Mayor Garcetti has embraced technology and innovation, making LA a hub for the future. In this case, technology will allow LA residents to literally fly over the city’s historically bad traffic, giving them time back to use in far more productive ways, whether more leisure time with friends and family or more time to work.”

“At scale, we expect uberAIR will perform tens of thousands of flights each day across the city – at those levels, all the time savings will have a noticeable positive impact on the region’s economy. By the time the Olympics come in 2028, we believe Los Angeles residents will be making heavy use of uberAIR, showcasing one of the most advanced urban transportation systems in the world, and because uberAIR is all-electric from day one, it will have a net positive impact on the environment,” concluded Holden.

As for how much such a trip would cost, Uber expects similar prices to those you get when using UberX. However, there’s obviously no comparison when it comes to journey length.



Uber Could Roll Out Second-Gen Semi-Autonomous Vehicles Later This Year 6
Posted by Michael Gauthier in Autonomous, Reports, Uber on 11 6th, 2017

The second-generation of semi-autonomous vehicles from Uber could hit the streets as early as this year.

Speaking with Fox News, Uber hardware engineer Brian Zajac said “From the outside, a lot looks the same but under the hood we’ve made a whole bunch of improvements.” Zajac went on to explain the new models are equipped with higher resolution cameras which allows them to see further and this will enable the vehicles to “drive a little bit faster.”

The cameras have also been equipped with an improved cleaning system to help deal with bad weather. This change will allow the cameras to see better during intense rain storms and other hazardous driving conditions.

Besides the upgraded cameras, the second-generation of semi-autonomous vehicles will have computers which take up less space. As Zajac explained, the computers are currently located in the trunk but that won’t be a problem in the future as the new system is much more compact.

Zajac says the improvements mean the second-generation of vehicles is closer to becoming fully autonomous. However, he said that’s still “in the far future.”

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Uber Has Created A Fake City In Pittsburgh To Test Its Autonomous Cars 19
Posted by Brad Anderson in Autonomous, Reports, Tech, Uber, video on 10 19th, 2017

Ride-hailing giant Uber has created a fake city in order to test its self-driving vehicles.
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Uber Rolls Out Fleet Of Teslas In Dubai 10
Posted by Brad Anderson in RTA, Tesla, Tesla Model S, Tesla Model X, Uber on 10 10th, 2017

A fleet of Tesla Model S and Model X vehicles will be introduced by Uber in Dubai this week as the local Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) looks to increase the number of electric vehicles on its streets.
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Uber Board Agrees To Changes Limiting Kalanick’s Power 5
Posted by Brad Anderson in Reports, Tech, Uber on 10 5th, 2017

Shortly after former Uber chief executive Travis Kalanick announced two new company directors, the firm’s board has voted on changes which will limit the co-founder’s power within Uber.
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Judge Delays Waymo Vs Uber Trial Until December 4
Posted by Brad Anderson in Autonomous, Google, Reports, Tech, Uber, Waymo on 10 4th, 2017

A judge in the U.S. has approved Waymo’s request for its impending trial against Uber to be postponed until December 4.
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Uber’s Travis Kalanick Announces Two New Board Members 3
Posted by Brad Anderson in Reports, Tech, Uber on 10 3rd, 2017

Uber’s Travis Kalanick may no longer by the chief executive of the ride-hailing service but he is continuing to flex his muscles at the firm, recently appointing two new board members.
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Uber CEO Apologizes After Firm Loses London License 26
Posted by Brad Anderson in Reports, Tech, Uber on 09 26th, 2017

Days after Uber was stripped of its operating license in London, the company’s new chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi has taken to Twitter to apologize for Uber’s mistakes.
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