Uber pursues self-driving model!

Cape Town - The US ride-sharing service, Uber announced that it had acquired the commercial transport-focused tech startup, Otto as the company presses ahead with its pursuit of self-driving technology... with no human intervention.  

The announcement came as the company also announced a $300 million effort with the Sweden-based automaker, Volvo Cars to develop driverless cars.

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick said in a statement, "If that sounds like a big deal... well, it is," 

"Over one million people die in car accidents every year. These are tragedies that self-driving technology can help solve, but we can't do this alone."

"In order to provide digital services in the physical world, we must build sophisticated logistics, artificial intelligence and robotics systems that serve and elevate humanity," he added.

Anthony Levandowski, the co-founder of Otto, a 90-person startup, who will now lead Uber's efforts to develop self-driving technology for personal driving, delivery and trucking in Palo Alto, California, San Francisco and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

The statement did not disclose the value of Otto's purchase.

Kalanick claimed 90 percent of road accidents were due to human error and that driverless cars would save lives.

Uber has been experimenting with different approaches to improving their services and intensifying the uniqueness of their brand. 

Earlier this year, the App-based taxi service has partnered with Nissan and BMW for UberGREEN, giving their customers the 100% electric rides option in an effort to reduce carbon emissions. The trial run took place between 22 April and 3rd June. 

Pressure from conventional taxis

As Uber's services continue to improve, so does the intensity of the rivalry between the conventional taxi drivers...

There have been several reports of Uber partner-drivers experiencing intimidation from metered taxi drivers in various parts of the world in the past.

In an incident in May this year in SA, Johannesburg, metered taxi drivers stoned two Uber cars and JMPD vehicles outside the Sandton Gautrain station, which left three officers injured.

In London, an incident in February, traditional black cabs blocked some of the city's busiest streets in a protest at the lack of regulations imposed on Uber.

In Paris in 2015, the rioting by heavily unionised taxi drivers and the arrest of Uber executives, led the startup to suspend its low-cost UberPOP service just six months after it was banned.

SEE: 2015: Uber vs fuming cab drivers

Licensed cab drivers, who in some countries must undergo hundreds of hours of training, accuse Uber of endangering their jobs by flooding the market with cheaper drivers who only need a GPS to get around.

What's you thoughts on what Uber's different approaches to improving their services and intensifying the uniqueness of their brand - email us at Info@traveller24.com

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