Uber Hires Veteran NASA Engineer to Develop Flying Cars

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In 2010, an advanced aircraft engineer at NASA’s Langley Research Center named Mark Moore published a white paper outlining the feasibility of electric aircrafts that could take off and land like helicopters but were smaller and quieter. The vehicles would be capable of providing a speedy alternative to the dreary morning commute.

Moore’s research into so-called VTOL — short for vertical takeoff and landing, or more colloquially, flying cars — inspired at least one billionaire technologist. After reading the white paper, Google co-founder Larry Page secretly started and financed two Silicon Valley startups, Zee Aero and Kitty Hawk, to develop the technology, Bloomberg Businessweek reported last summer.

Now Moore is leaving the confines of the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, where he has spent the last 30 years, to join one of Google’s rivals: Uber Technologies Inc. Moore is taking on a new role as director of engineering for aviation at the ride-hailing company, working on a flying car initiative known as Uber Elevate. “I can’t think of another company in a stronger position to be the leader for this new ecosystem and make the urban electric VTOL market real,” he says.

Radical Vision for Airborne Commutes

Uber isn’t constructing a flying car yet. In its own white paper published last October, the company laid out a radical vision for airborne commutes and identified technical challenges it said it wanted to help the nascent industry solve, like noise pollution, vehicle efficiency and limited battery life. Moore consulted on the paper and was impressed by the company’s vision and potential impact.

Moore acknowledged that many obstacles stand in the way, and they’re not only technical. He says each flying car company would need to independently negotiate with suppliers to get prices down, and lobby regulators to certify aircrafts and relax air-traffic restrictions. But he says Uber, with its 55 million active riders, can uniquely demonstrate that there could be a massive, profitable and safe market. “If you don’t have a business case that makes economic sense, than all of this is just a wild tech game and not really a wise investment,” Moore says.

Uber’s vision is a seductive one, particularly for sci-fi fans. The company envisions people taking conventional Ubers from their homes to nearby “vertiports” that dot residential neighborhoods. Then they would zoom up into the air and across town to the vertiport closest to their offices. (“We don’t need stinking bridges!” says Moore.) These air taxis will only need ranges of between 50 to 100 miles, and Moore thinks that they can be at least partially recharged while passengers are boarding or exiting the aircraft. He also predicts we’ll see several well-engineered flying cars in the next one to three years and that there will be human pilots, at least managing the onboard computers, for the foreseeable future.

His move to Uber is a risky one. Moore says he’s leaving NASA one year before he’s eligible for retirement and walking away from a significant percentage of his pension and free health care for life “to be in the right place at the right time to make this market real.” (Though it’s probably safe to say that Uber, with some $11 billion on its balance sheet, is making it worth his while.) Moore seems to be disillusioned with NASA, saying the agency is leaving promising new aviation markets to the private industry. “It’s the federal government who is best positioned to overcome extremely high levels of risks,” he says.

While NASA is larded with layers of bureaucracy and management, Uber Chief Executive Officer Travis Kalanick has been closely involved in hatching his company’s flying car plans, Moore says. That is, when he’s not distracted with his own political crises, such as his role on President Donald Trump’s advisory council, which he relinquished last week after criticism from customers, drivers and employees.

Kalanick’s bet on Uber Elevate is another indication that while Silicon Valley seems on the surface to be consumed with politics and protests these days, the march into the future continues apace.

By Brad Stone via Industry Week

Uber Elevate PDF

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UberHIRE: Many Destinations, One Uber

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Uber India press release:

When we set out, Uber was designed to be an efficient and affordable way to get from point A to point B, almost anywhere in the world. Yet, India isn’t just anywhere in the world – it’s a world in itself, with a culture that is unique and diverse. Think festival shopping, family get-togethers, big fat weddings or back to back business meetings, we are always on the go.

That’s why riders have always asked us if they could hold onto their Ubers while they are out and about — and that’s why we’re launching UberHIRE: an Uber that takes care of all your travel needs for the day.

UberHIRE is a time-based Uber that’s available on-demand, to let you explore and travel around cities knowing that your Uber will wait for you. It’s perfect for travellers exploring a new city, senior citizens who need to make trips punctuated with multiple stop overs, or for business travellers who have multiple meetings – while ensuring it is an economical option for everyone.

After a successful pilot run in Kochi, starting today, UberHIRE will go live in New Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai, Mumbai, Pune, Ahmedabad, Vizag and Nagpur, with more cities slated for launch in the weeks to come.

HOW IT WORKS:

  1. Open your Uber app and slide over to UberHIRE
  2. Set your pickup location and request your ride
  3. Your Uber will be at your service. You will see your driver’s details straight away, along with the details of your car
  4. At the end of your trip, your total fare is calculated based on the distance and duration of your trip. You can pay in cash and receive an e-receipt

PLEASE NOTE: CURRENTLY, UBERHIRE WORKS ONLY ON CASH PAYMENTS


UberHIRE is going live in the following cities. Read on to find out more about UberHIRE in your city:

Ahmedabad

Bangalore

Chennai

Mumbai

Nagpur

New Delhi

Kochi

Pune

Visakhapatnam

Newsroom Uber

Daimler and Uber join forces to bring more self-driving vehicles on the road

  • Daimler and Uber sign general agreement on the intended supply and operation of self-driving Mercedes-Benz vehicles on Uber’s network

Stuttgart/ San Francisco, Jan 31, 2017: Daimler and Uber today announced an agreement on their intent to cooperate on the supply and operation of self-driving vehicles. Under the terms of the cooperation Daimler plans to introduce self-driving vehicles also on Uber’s global ridesharing network in the coming years. Daimler is the first auto company to join with Uber as it opens up its platform for manufacturers to introduce their own self-driving cars.

With its new corporate strategy entitled CASE – which stands for “Connected”, “Autonomous”, “Shared & Services” and “Electric” – Mercedes-Benz Cars is marking out the cornerstones for its future success and the reshaping of mobility. This agreement is the next step into the future of shared and autonomous driving. Daimler is a pioneer when it comes to self-driving vehicle technologies. The new Mercedes-Benz E-Class is the world’s first series-production vehicle to be awarded a test licence for autonomous driving in the US state of Nevada. With its Highway Pilot system, Daimler Trucks is now the world’s first truck manufacturer with plans to develop an autonomous driving system for use in commercial vehicles.

Uber has assembled a strong self-driving engineering group with its Advanced Technology Group, which is testing self-driving vehicles on the road in the US. Uber’s Otto division is also working on self-driving trucks. And Uber has valuable experience that comes from running a ridesharing and delivery network across 74 countries.

Each company will benefit from the other’s industry-leading capabilities in research and development of autonomous driving and network operations.

“As the inventor of the automobile, Daimler aims to be a leader in autonomous driving – one of the most fascinating aspects of reinventing mobility”, said Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars. “ Mobility service providers offer an ideal platform for autonomous driving technology and Uber is a leading mobility platform company. The real revolution in future mobility lies in intelligently linking the four major trends we call CASE: connectivity, autonomous driving, sharing and electric mobility. And we will certainly be the driver of these changes.”

Travis Kalanick, CEO and Co-Founder of Uber, said: “Self-driving technology holds the promise of creating cities that are safer, cleaner and more accessible. But we can’t get to that future alone. That’s why we’re opening up the Uber platform to auto manufacturers like Daimler. By combining Daimler’s and Uber’s technological strengths, more people can get access to reliable transportation at the push of a button.”

UberMOTO Officially Comes to Hyderabad; Fares Start @ Rs 25 for first 3 kms, Rs 5 Thereafter

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VIA UBER PRESS RELEASE – 

Hyderabad, your uberMOTO is arriving on January 30th! uberMOTO gives riders an affordable and convenient motorcycle ride at the push of a button, through the Uber app. Riders receive driver and bike details just as they do for other Uber rides, as well as all standard safety features before, during and after the ride including requisite insurance coverage which covers the riders, GPS tracking, two-way feedback and the ability to share trip details with family and friends.

How uberMOTO works:

  • Download the Uber app for iOS or Android and create an Uber account – Existing users can update their app to see the new product.
  • Select uberMOTO in the app, enter the pickup location and payment method, and request a ride; receive driver details — name, photo and details of the motorbike.
  • uberMOTO drivers will have one helmet for the rider, and all riders and drivers must wear a helmet, as per the law.
  • At the end of the trip, pay by cash, credit/debit card or mobile wallet and receive an electronic receipt via the Uber app.


uberMOTO will go live in Hyderabad during the second half of Monday i.e. January 30, 2017 and will be one of the most affordable transportation options in the city, with fares as low as Rs.25 for the first 3 kms and Rs.5 per km thereafter, rounded up to the nearest km. Time charges won’t be applicable on uberMOTO.

NEW TO UBER?

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COVERAGE AREA

Note: uberMOTO will be available from 8 AM to 10 PM everyday in parts of Kondapur, Hitech City, Madhapur, Gachibowli. We will endeavour to expand coverage across the city.

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PROTIP: Requests starting and trips ending within this geography will be able to avail Moto services.

  • Interested in signing up as an Uber Moto Driver-Partner, signup here
  • If you would like to avail of Moto services in your areas, please drop a note here

TERMS AND CONDITIONS

  1. New User free rides on MOTO will be applicable till March 31, 2017
  2. Valid for MOTO rides in Hyderabad only
  3. Rider is entitled to a maximum discount of Rs 35 per ride during the first 2 free rides
  4. Uber reserves the right to refuse discounts if found that the rides were taken fraudulently

Request an Uber ride directly from Google Maps app!

Book, complete and pay for an Uber ride without ever leaving Google Maps.

It’s a new year and you’ve got new places to be. When you’re on the go and looking at transportation options in Google Maps, you can now request an Uber ride directly from the Google Maps app.

It’s already been easy to compare wait times and the pricing of available Uber options, including POOL, uberX, and uberXL, in Google Maps. With the latest integration update powered by Uber’s API, you can now request a ride, see your driver en route, contact your driver, and follow your trip status — all without having to switch over to the Uber app. Plus, you can pay with your options on file with either Uber or Google.

To get started, all you have to do is open the ride services tab on Google Maps and tap on “REQUEST” to take a ride. For a limited time, all new riders in the U.S. will receive $15 off their first ride.

*Note: The feature is not yet available in all cities.

Via: Newsroom Uber

5 Reasons to Use uberPOOL — Uber Global

For most people, riding with Uber is all about getting from Point A to Point B. But the transportation experience can offer much more than that. When you select uberPOOL at the bottom of your app screen, you can share your ride with others who are heading the same direction—and get so much more than…

via 5 Reasons to Use uberPOOL — Uber Global

The Uber Way to Air Travel — Disrupt Tech

a Chicago startup believes it’s found a way to bring air travel to the sharing economy by connecting passengers to licensed, professional pilots. And it just launched its on-demand service nationwide. FlyOtto allows travelers to find, book and pay for regional flights on privately chartered aircraft from their phone or computer. The service, which was born out […]

via The Uber Way to Air Travel — Disrupt Tech