Mapping vehicles acquired by Uber from Microsoft in June
Uber is working to improve the routes taken by its drivers, by mapping the roads itself with its own fleet of vehicles. The ride-sharing company has confirmed it has its own Street View-style mapping vehicles traveling the roads and taking its own imaging data, following a photographic leak of the vehicle on Facebook, with the suggestion it is using the data generated to replace the Google Maps-derived data it currently relies on.
Google proposes installing free Wi-Fi hotspots in Indian railway stations
Google has revealed plans to increase the number of people going online in India, by providing high-speed Wi-Fi in railway stations. Working with Indian Railways and communications company RailTel, the scheme proposes the installation of the free hotspots in 100 of the busiest stations by the end of 2016, serving over 10 million passengers per day. The ultimate goal of connecting 400 of the stations across the country is accompanied by another to make it self-sustainable, enabling it to fund expansion into other areas.
$10 billion industry in resale of taxi medallions in danger of collapse
A lawsuit brought against the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission in New York by four credit unions was adjudicated today. Queens Supreme Court Justice Allan Weiss ruled that the commission need not block the "pre-arranged transportation" generated by Uber, with the ruling preventing shutdown of the service in New York City. At stake is not only Uber's continued existence in New York City, but the financial backbone in the city built around loans to acquire taxi medallions, valued at up to $1 million each.
Microsoft hands technology licenses, collected data to Uber
Uber is significantly bolstering its mapping operations and research, by acquiring technology and staff from Microsoft for an as-yet undisclosed amount. Map-related assets from Bing are being passed on to the app-based taxi firm, reports TechCrunch, with approximately 100 employees also being transferred over as part of the purchase, in yet another navigation-related acquisition from the transport company.
Uber France CEO, Europe GM questioned by police over service legality
Two executives of Uber have been taken into police custody in France, days after the country-wide strikes held by traditional taxi service operators upset over Uber's continued operations in the region. The detained company management is being questioned by the authorities over the legality of the service, specifically concerning the taxes and social charges Uber allegedly avoids dealing with, due to the nature of how it operates.
Uber allegedly joins fight to acquire Nokia mapping arm
Uber has apparently placed a bid to acquire the Here mapping arm of Nokia, according to a report. The New York Times claims the company has placed a bid in the region of $3 billion for the mapping technology, though it still has competition from other sources, including a collection of German car manufacturers working with Baidu, as well as another offer from an unnamed private equity firm.
UberEats provides rapid deliveries of food in Chicago, New York City
Uber is attempting to expand the usefulness of its fleet of vehicles, by providing more delivery options to its customers. The company's food service is expanding into two new cities, while a rumor claims it is planning to launch a merchant delivery program that could provide same-day delivery of produce to customers via nearby Uber drivers.
Uber launching licensed taxi services in Germany following ban
Uber is going to launch a new service in Germany, following its ban by a local court this month. The court banned Uber over its use of unlicensed cab drivers, reports Reuters, and intends to fine Uber drivers violating local transport laws. A new service will be launching this summer, with Uber paying the commercial passenger transport licenses and to register drives as taxi companies at a cost of between 250 euro ($270) and 400 euro ($435) per driver, most likely under the UberX brand.
Uber adds panic button, share ride status options to app in India
Uber has made changes to its mobile app in India, in order to help with rider safety, following rape allegations against one of its drivers in the country last year. Share my ETA has been replaced by Share Status, which lets the passenger share details of the car and driver' location and appearance to others, with two taps of a button instantly sending details to five pre-selected contacts. The second, a panic button marked with SOS, will help quickly make calls to authorities in the event of an accident or another emergency.
Uber working with Carnegie Mellon University on self-driving car research
Google may find it has competition in the development and production of self-driving cars, as Uber is planning to research the technology with Carnegie Mellon University. At the same time as the research plan announcement, reports claim that Google is exploring the possibility of its own competing ride-hailing app, though other sources seem to claim it to be an exaggeration.
European regulatory support requested by Uber to promote job creation
Uber is aiming to create another 50,000 jobs across Europe as well as provide other benefits to the economy, if local regulators decide to work directly with the company, the ride-hailing service has announced. The positive potential jobs news arrives after another week of trouble for Uber, which has seen its service halted in yet another market in the United States.
Company hopes twin incentives will invigorate business from 'winter slump'
Whether the "winter slump" is a symptom of colder weather and post-holiday fatigue, or fallout from recent PR and regulation challenges, Uber plans to combat it with price cuts and guaranteed driver earnings. The program will be implemented in 48 cities across the United States.
Uber customers can request van for local deliveries
Uber may soon offer deliveries to customers alongside its existing transportation services, if an experiment is found to be successful. UberCargo is being tested by the company in Hong Kong, which allows customers in some cities to hail a van to transport goods or furniture to another location, without going through traditional courier services.
McDonalds adds Qi wireless charging hotspots to 50 restaurants
McDonalds is bringing wireless charging to some of its restaurants in the United Kingdom. Working with Aircharge, a total of 600 Qi charging hotspots will be fitted in 50 stores, mostly in London, with the hotspots themselves said to be water-resistant units capable of surviving the occasional soft drink spillage. The expansion follows an initial test, and reports that customers waited for up to 30 minutes to use the chargers at one restaurant.
Spanish Uber service temporarily halted while company fights taxi drivers association in court
Uber is closing its Uberpop ride-sharing service in Spain, following a court request. The service is temporarily suspended in the country, as Uber is planning to appeal a court ruling granting an injunction requested by the Association Madrileña Del Taxi, the taxi drivers association of Madrid, as well as working with politicians to make the service legal in the country.
South Korea latest market to object to Uber business practices
South Korea has become the latest country to fight against the rise of ride-hailing service Uber, by indicting the local subsidiary and CEO Travis Kalanick shortly after launch. The company is said to be "violating a law prohibiting individuals or firms without appropriate licenses from providing or facilitating transport services," a legal challenge previously arising in a number of other markets around the world.
Portland creates task force to hammer out private for-hire regulatory framework
Uber is putting a stop to its app-based taxi service in Portland, just two weeks after it launched. The Wall Street Journal reports the company made an agreement with the city to put a hold on the service for a three-month period, while the two parties negotiate and create a regulatory framework that allows ridesharing services to coexist with existing cab companies and other transportation options.
More legal trouble for Uber while Lyft settles with District Attorneys
Uber is being sued by the cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco, for unlawful business practices. The District Attorneys of both cities claim the cab company is misrepresenting how effective its driver background checks are to its users, as well as including fare calculations and other fees that have not been approved by the state itself.
Uber hit by multiple legal, regulatory issues over the last few days
Uber is continuing to have a turbulent week, with issues in a number of different cities and countries within the last few days. The driving service has been banned in Spain, Thailand, and India, with Vietnam also taking a close look at the company's practices, while the city of Portland, Oregon has filed a lawsuit to shutter the service within days of launch.
Government officials say Uber is illegal, can fine drivers up to $5,000 for lack of permits
Uber announced the launch of its ridesharing service in Portland at the end of last week, moving into Oregon's largest metropolitan area almost a month after coming to four other cities outside the area, including Hillsboro and Beaverton. However, the service hit a significant snag on the same day, running afoul of the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) and a city commissioner.
Blog post by CEO promises Uber will become a humble company
Ride-hailing service Uber has increased its warchest, after its latest round of funding brought in $1.2 billion. The extra funds come at a turbulent time for the company following various negative reports, though CEO Travis Kalanick claims upcoming changes to the way the firm is managed will lead to a "more humble company" in the future.
Court injunction shutters Nevada Uber service one month after launch
Uber has shut down its service in Nevada barely a month after launching, following the issuing of a preliminary injunction preventing it from operating within the state. In a separate announcement, the company has also advised it has disciplined an executive following allegations he had tracked the location of a journalist using a corporate-level "God View" tool.
Privacy team formation follows reports of executives tracking Uber customers
Uber is forming a privacy team by bringing onboard a number of experts, as it attempts to secure its customer's data. The hiring of a team, including former IBM Chief Privacy Officer Harriet Pearson, comes shortly after reports claimed one of the app-based cab company's executives had tracked a ride of a journalist without their permission.
Spotify Premium subscribers can control Uber audio system during ride
Spotify is partnering with Uber, allowing passengers of the taxi app to play their choice of music via the cab's built-in audio system. At the same time as the audio announcement, it appears that code within the Spotify app itself points toward the future introduction of a podcasting service, alongside another unknown feature given the name "Magic."
Sky updates mobile app with refreshed home screen, Smart Series Link
British broadcaster Sky has updated its iOS and Android Sky+ apps to allow users to display their photographs from their mobile devices on the television through the Sky+ HD set-top box. The app also includes a new updated homepage, complete with a dedicated Sports section, and a Smart Series Link option that lets the Sky+ box record all current and future seasons of selected programs.
Uber drivers lacking taxi permits face fines of up to $5,300 each
Uber's European ambitions has received a setback, after four drivers in Amsterdam were arrested for operating a taxi service in the city by using the Uber app. The drivers have since been released by the Dutch police, but face fines as high as 4,200 euros ($5,300) each, over a matter which amounts to a licensing issue, and could be the first time UberPop drivers receive a fine for using the service.
Lyft, Sidecar and Uber receive letters accusing them being misleading, breaking California laws
District attorneys in San Francisco and Los Angeles drafted a letter to the three large ride-sharing operations, asking them to make changes to the way they do business, or face legal action. The letters state that the companies make misleading statements regarding the background checks into drivers, on top of the shared-ride fees running afoul of California law.
One complaint alleged service dog transported in trunk of driver's car
Ride sharing service Uber is being sued by the California branch of the National Federation of the Blind for mistreatment of the disabled. The complaint, filed in the Northern California District Court, alleges refusal of rides to blind persons with service dogs, abandonment of blind travelers in harsh weather conditions, and cancellation fee being charged after being refusing to transport blind riders. Additionally, there is one report of a Uber ride share driver putting a service dog in the trunk of the car, with the driver refusing to pull over and rectify the situation when the passenger realized where the dog was riding.
New court order issued last week held in abeyance until appeal heard
Ridesharing app Uber is facing yet another shutdown order in Germany; this time, encompassing the entire country. A preliminary injunction to stop service nationwide has been applied against the company since the end of last week over what the court calls a lack of appropriate permits and insurance carried by the drivers. Uber is appealing, and will not shut down while it waits for a hearing.
Operations can resume, but judge's ruling will be troublesome for future hearings
The Hamburg, Germany court system has reauthorized Uber to operate, at least temporarily. Despite the resurrection, which was based on a technicality, the court did dictate that the service was "probably illegal" as drivers for the service lack a passenger transportation license, similar to the situation that Lyft faced in New York City.
Test taking place in Santa Monica, offers daily lunch item in three-hour window
Ride share service Uber is apparently looking to expand into some other functions, as the company is testing a service dubbed UberFresh starting today. The program is attempting to deliver lunch to people in a short time frame, utilizing a menu specific to the area being tested. The service is only being offered for a limited time, but a successful test could mean the program would be expanded further.
Hyatt, United, Starbucks, Tripadvisor among early partners
Uber has released an anticipated API that will let third-party developers integrate its ridesharing services into their own apps. The company says it is already working with 11 high-profile partners, including Starbucks, United, OpenTable, TimeOut, Tempo, Hinge, Tripadvisor, Tripcase, Hyatt, Mememo, and Expensify. Apps based on the API will be able to show available rides and/or price and time estimates, and make use of a person's trip history.
Uber users can order from list of products for delivery to their location
Uber is testing potential delivery services again, by providing customers with goods from local retail outlets. Named Uber Corner Store, the experimental retail service will let Uber users request products from a list of over 100 items through the app, delivered shortly afterward to the customer by one of Uber's own fleet of drivers.
Judge allows rideshare company to return to business, ban lasted only four days
Uber fans in Berlin can rejoice for the time being, as the company has been given the go-ahead to resume its UberPop and UberBlack services today for the time being. A judge from the Berlin Administrative Court suspended the municiple ban, allowing the ride-sharing service to return to business. There is no time frame on how long the suspension will last.
Company aims to fight ruling, calls decision 'not progressive'
Berlin, Germany has banned the Uber unlicensed cab service from city limits, citing concerns for passenger safety and the unregulated nature of the drivers for the service. The firm itself is liable for a fine of $33,000 per fare, with drivers themselves seeking riders likely to be hit with a $26,500 charge by authorities as well.
UberPool lets customer share Uber ride for a cheaper fare
Cab-hailing service Uber is looking to lower the cost of rides for its customers, by offering the option to car-pool with other users. Rolling out as a private beta, UberPool will allow customers to hail a car as normal, but it will attempt to find others requesting a similar journey so the car can be shared, with the cost significantly reduced for each UberPool participant.
Review score of customers by Uber drivers pulled from view
Anti-Uber law proposal demands headquarter visits by drivers
French legislators are continuing to work against app-based driver services, by proposing a new law changing the way they operate. The proposal from the French Senate would require drivers for car-service companies to return to their headquarters, or in the case of a driver using Uber or a similar service, a parking garage or their home, between clients.
South Korean capital aims to stop Uber over unregistered taxi services
South Korean capital Seoul could potentially ban Uber in the city, in favor of its own still-in-development app. The city government advised that it would try to ban the car-hailing app, as current South Korean law makes it illegal to provide any sort of fee-based transportation service via privately-owned vehicles not registered to do so with local authorities.
Passengers subjected to car chase over possible $2,000 Uber driver fine
A driver for transportation service Uber effectively kidnapped their passengers for a period of time, according to reports. Ryan Simonetti, CEO of Convene, and two other passengers were allegedly involved in a 10-minute chase in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, caused by the driver refusing to pull over for a D.C. taxi inspector in an attempt to avoid a $2,000 fine.
Credited with helping to develop original iOS Maps app
A senior Maps engineering manager at Apple, Chris Blumenberg, has left the company to work at ridesharing service Uber, according to reports. Blumenberg was with Apple for over 14 years, and is credited with helping to develop the original iOS (then iPhone OS) Maps app, as well that platform's version of Safari. Uber, notably, has been rising in popularity, and is closely associated with Google.
Transport for London requests ruling over Uber legality in UK
Uber is not breaking the law by offering an app-based private hire service in London, the city's transport authority has ruled. While Transport for London (TfL) has sided with Uber and other similar services, the authority has referred the matter to the High Court and asked for a legally binding ruling, because of the considerable interest by disgruntled black cab drivers.
Uber launches uberFamily pilot service in NYC
Uber has announced a new pilot service, uberFamily, launching first in New York City. The cab-hailing service is offering users vehicles that are equipped with car seats for children. The seats will be installed by those who are trained and certified to do so, and accommodates children aged one year and up. Available for a $10 surcharge, those interested in trying out the service in the New York City area must enter "FAMILY" as a code in the app to access the option.
Uber joins as optional transit method
Google has updated its iOS and Android versions of Maps with a slate of new features. One of the most important is lane guidance during turn-by-turn navigation, telling drivers to switch or hold lanes as necessary. At the moment, lanes are only being displayed in the US and in "parts of Canada and Japan," according to Google. Navigation has also been upgraded with easier access to alternate routes while traveling.
Uber launches in Beijing, China, operates in 100 markets
Transportation service Uber has launched its service in its 100th market, with Beijing, China being the milestone location. The new addition to Uber's roster comes just under four years after the service first started in San Francisco, with the company also launching a commemorative page showing all locations it currently operates and highlighting Uber stories posted on Twitter.
Uber announces UberRush courier service, beginning exclusively in New York City
Ride service app Uber has announced the testing of its new courier service, UberRush. Beginning in New York City, UberRush will appear on users' home screens, allowing customers to have small goods delivered by bike or foot courier. As opposed to an on-demand delivery service that is based on an order, UberRush has couriers picking up objects from Uber users and delivering them to a specific address as determined by the customer. The base fare for deliveries is $15, with delivery zoning factoring in potential additional costs. UberRush will become available to users starting tomorrow.
Uber update replaces SMS with push notifications
Uber has announced its update for its iOS app, featuring a shift from SMS message notifications to push notifications. Soon to include real-time information regarding its recently announced surge pricing, the taxi travel app now accepts PayPal as a fare payment option, meaning no credit card is required. Uber is free to download through iTunes.
French taxi driver anger forces change in transport law
Start-ups offering app-based driver services in France will have to wait for 15 minutes before picking up a customer from January onwards, according to a new bill by the French government. The bill, which affects Uber, LeCab, SnapCar, and other similar services, is an attempt by the government to appease taxi drivers in the country, those who stand to lose heavily from the start-ups.
Suit filed against Uber on behalf of San Fran cab drivers
A San Francisco attorney announced yesterday that his firm had filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of San Francisco cab drivers charging Uber with creating unfair business competition in violation of state and local regulations. Uber is an app-based company operating in several large cities across the United States, providing a way for its users to have access to transportation services without going through local competitors. The lawsuit alleges that Uber circumvents existing California and San Francisco law, depriving "law-abiding taxicab drivers" of fares that should be theirs.