Uber CEO Touts ‘Great’ Talks With Toyota CEO on Autonomous Cars

Dara Khosrowshahi, on his first trip to Asia as chief executive officer of Uber Technologies Inc., spent some quality time with his counterpart at the world’s largest carmaker. On Thursday, Khosrowshahi posted a photo on Twitter of him and Toyota Motor Corp. President Akio Toyoda, along with Executive …

Dara Khosrowshahi, on his first trip to Asia as chief executive officer of Uber Technologies Inc., spent some quality time with his counterpart at the world’s largest carmaker.

On Thursday, Khosrowshahi posted a photo on Twitter of him and Toyota Motor Corp. President Akio Toyoda, along with Executive Vice President Shigeki Tomoyama at the automaker’s headquarters. The Uber CEO is smiling and holding a black baseball bat, while Toyoda laughs at his side.

“Having fun with Akio-San and Tomoyama-San @ToyotaMotorCorpHQ,” he wrote. “Great discussions about growing our #autonomous partnership and lessons 4 me in building a great culture. And yep, those are Ichiro’s bats.”

Khosrowshahi is looking to move past an embarrassing legal battle with Alphabet Inc., which alleged that Uber stole autonomous driving secrets from it. Having settled that case this month for about $245 million, Khosrowshahi’s meeting with Toyoda shows his commitment to continue developing the technology with partners. For Toyota, closer ties could help it keep up with rivals like Nissan Motor Corp., which is working on its own autonomous solution.

“We have a very budding partnership with Toyota,” Khosrowshahi told investors at an event on Tuesday. “We have to make sure we have access to leading autonomous technology. And that means having access to it in a timely manner. I do believe we can develop our own autonomous technology that we’re doing, and at the same time partner with other players in autonomous technology.”

Khosrowshahi made it clear during his Japan trip that the ride-hailing company isn’t about to scale back its business to just countries where it already has a strong market position. During his first stop on the Asia tour, he said he’s willing to forge partnerships with Japanese taxi companies in order to succeed, even though Uber has less 1 percent market share and only offers limited services there.

“It’s clear to me that we need to come in with partnership in mind, and in particular a partnership with the taxi industry here,” he said.

It’s the clearest sign yet that ride-hailing giant will redouble efforts to take a piece of Japan’s $16 billion taxi market, even amid signs of pressure from its biggest shareholder, SoftBank Group Corp., to focus on core markets. Amid heavy operating losses, Uber has retreated from some markets, including China and Russia. It’s also said to be considering a sale of its Southeast Asian business. After Japan, Khosrowshahi is visiting India, where Uber is competing against local ride-hailing startup Ola.

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Uber/Lyft vs El/bus

Answer 1 of 5: I am a new Uber user. I just spent a 3 day weekend in DC getting around with Uber/Lyft and it was awesome! Cars were never more than 5 minutes away and we’d literally have door to door transportation. Planning a trip to Chicago in March, and…

I am a new Uber user. I just spent a 3 day weekend in DC getting around with Uber/Lyft and it was awesome! Cars were never more than 5 minutes away and we’d literally have door to door transportation.

Planning a trip to Chicago in March, and originally was going to take the El/busses around. Our hotel is on Wacker in the Magnificent Mile area. Plans are the typical tourist spots… Art museum, sears tower, second city, etc…

Flying into Midway too.

Originally, I was going to buy a Ventra pass before our trip. But reconsidering now.

One wrinkle, we are going as a family. 2 adults and teen kids age 18, 16, 14 yr olds. I was going to load husband and 18 year old up on free referral Uber/Lyft credits and sometimes take 2 cars vs an XL.

We were also talking of sending 2 of us + luggage on Uber/Lyft for airport-hotel trip while the other 3 take the bus.

Thoughts?

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Mealey’s Labor & Employment – Uber Driver Class Certified In Suit Over

SAN FRANCISCO – A California federal judge in an order filed Feb. 16 certified a class of drivers suing Uber Technologies Inc. and its subsidiary Rasier LLC (collectively, Uber) for changing the pricing policy in 2016 and keeping a larger percentage of…

SAN FRANCISCO – A California federal judge in an order filed Feb. 16 certified a class of drivers suing Uber Technologies Inc. and its subsidiary Rasier LLC (collectively, Uber) for changing the pricing policy in 2016 and keeping a larger percentage of each fare, allegedly violating its agreement with the drivers (Martin Dulberg, et al. v. Uber Technologies, Inc., et al., No. 17-850, N.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 26222).

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To get a less expensive ride, Uber says take a walk

When a rider selects Express POOL, Uber books their ride and uses their technology to find the right car, other co-riders, and the best spot for pickup within a few blocks of the rider’s location. Once their ride details are finalized, Uber will give the rider walking directions and the ETA to pick up so they …

DENVER — The latest variation of an Uber ride will require a short walk.

Starting Wednesday in Denver, the ride-hailing company is rolling out a service called “Express Pool,” which links riders in the same area who want to travel to similar destinations.

Once linked, riders would need to walk a couple of blocks to be picked up at a common location. They also would be dropped off at a site that would be a short walk from their final destinations.

Express Pool could cost up to 75 percent less than a regular Uber ride.

Here’s how Uber says Express Pool works:

  • Riders walk to/from nearby Express spots and potentially wait a minute or two for details about their ride.
  • When a rider selects Express POOL, Uber books their ride and uses their technology to find the right car, other co-riders, and the best spot for pickup within a few blocks of the rider’s location.
  • Once their ride details are finalized, Uber will give the rider walking directions and the ETA to pick up so they know when and where to meet their driver.
  • When the rider is in the car and nearing their final destination, Uber will choose a drop off spot and notify them of that location. Uber will also give them walking directions to their final destination.

Express Pool is already running in San Francisco and Boston. Besides Denver it’s now offered in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Miami and San Diego.

Uber says more cities will follow.

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Uber’s new ‘Express Pool’ is all about getting more riders to share rides

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi recently said he wanted the company to run city bus systems, but there are obvious downsides to depending on a private company to provide a public utility. Some could argue that Express Pool is the company’s first official attempt at getting into micro-transit. Though many …

Uber is beginning to roll out a cheaper version of its ride-sharing UberPool service, called Express Pool. The service, which was being tested in Boston and San Francisco, is now available in Los Angeles, San Diego and Denver, and will launch in Miami, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., tomorrow.

The idea is that Express Pool, which requires riders to walk a little to meet their driver — and then again to their destination after being dropped off — will make shared rides more efficient. If it works, it should both increase the number of rides that drivers can give and also make those shared trips faster for passengers.

The new service tests a thesis Uber has long had: Lower prices means higher utilization, and higher utilization means more money — both for drivers and for Uber. Also that road congestion is bad and the solution is to share more rides.

Those are the same theories that sparked the creation of the original UberPool service, which requires a little less walking. But the hope is that this will make it easier to match more passengers and therefore lose less money on each shared ride.

Uber Express Pool screenshot of the app.Uber Express Pool screenshot of the app.
Uber Express Pool screenshot of the app.
Uber

How does it work for riders?

After selecting Express Pool, riders will wait to be matched with another passenger. Then they walk to the pickup point, join any passengers they’ve been matched with along the way, and get dropped off in the vicinity of their destination and walk the rest of the way there.

None of those points are fixed, and even if you take the same trip every day, there’s no guarantee that the pickup or drop-off locations will be the same, because it depends on who you’re matched with.

Because the company expects utilization to go up, and because you have to do a little bit more work, rides will be up to 30 percent cheaper than regular UberPool rides.

How does it work for drivers?

It should work roughly the same as UberPool, with one exception. Before dropping off the rider, drivers will be notified that the passenger will walk to their destination.

However, some drivers who have already tried Express Pool in Boston and San Francisco have complained that passengers either don’t understand that it’s not a door-to-door service, or they still insist on being picked up or dropped off in front of their location.

“It’s much more effort, many of the intersections Uber chooses as a good Express pickup location are very dangerous, and there is no good spot to safely pull over and pick up the passenger,” Thad, a Boston driver who has been working on the Uber platform since September 2017, told Recode. “It’s more effort, more headache, more potential for complications and a bad rating over things the driver has no control of.”

Drivers are still being pay per-mile and per-minute in addition to a base fare, as well as a fee they receive per pickup — so it’s entirely decoupled from what riders pay. Uber also recently rolled out ratings protection so drivers could not be penalized for things out of their control — such as traffic or bad navigation.

What’s the upside for Uber?

Higher utilization is good for Uber, period. Uber’s network will be more efficient if the supply of drivers on Uber’s platform are giving more rides. The company also expects that it will help decrease how much is spent on subsidizing these rides.

When calculating the upfront price of rides, Uber takes into account things like the expected time and distance, as well as the likelihood that a rider will be matched with another passenger on shared rides.

If the company predicts that you will be matched with a rider, for example, it may charge you $4, with the expectation that the total fare will be $8. That doesn’t always happen, however, which causes the company to lose money on those rides. With the new Express Pool service — for which Uber has built a completely new back end that determines a shared route with you and other passengers — the company expects to be able to predict whether you get a match with more certainty.

It stands to reason that since it’s not door-to-door, it should be easier to determine routes that work for multiple passengers.

Lastly, this could be a big opportunity for self-driving cars. Driverless cars don’t have to stop, so this will further increase utilization. Think about it: With Express Pool, Uber driverless cars will be able to continuously pick up multiple passengers quickly and efficiently without splitting the profits with the driver.

Is Uber trying to replace public transit?

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi recently said he wanted the company to run city bus systems, but there are obvious downsides to depending on a private company to provide a public utility. Some could argue that Express Pool is the company’s first official attempt at getting into micro-transit.

Though many people compare services like Express Pool to buses, it works a lot more like existing on-demand shuttle services like Via or even Chariot — except Chariot operates fixed routes based on demand along those routes. With ExpressPool, everything is dynamic, from routes to passengers to prices.

The logical next step for Uber ExpressPool is to use more SUVs and other vehicles that could fit more passengers, the way that Via does. But it’s unlikely that this service could replace bus systems anytime soon, because it’s hard to see how privately owned vehicles will be able to meet the demands of public transit, and profitably at that.

The bigger opportunity is in filling the gaps of transit systems, according to Sarah Kaufman, the assistant director for technology programming at the NYU Rudin Center for Transportation.

“If cities start to see these services as better fits for low-ridership bus routes, especially late at night, passengers will benefit from more direct service and lower costs for transportation managers,” Kaufman told Recode.


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