Uber adds live location sharing to app, plans to deploy 24,000 self-driving Volvo SUVs

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in iPhone
Uber on Monday revealed several new features for its core iPhone app -- including live location sharing with drivers -- as well as an agreement with Volvo that will see it buy and equip 24,000 vehicles with self-driving systems.




The app's live location option can be toggled by tapping a round button in the lower-right corner of the map. When on, a rider's actual position is broadcast to an incoming driver, instead of just the original pickup point.

Uber has additionally expanded its Beacon support to Chicago, New York City, and San Francisco. Beacons are mounted in drivers' windshields, and glow a rider-selected color to make it easier to pair up. That color in turn takes over a rider's screen, allowing them to flash their phone to get attention.

The app now also includes gifting options, and the ability to order a ride for a guest even if they don't have a smartphone. After selecting a different rider, that person will will get an SMS message with details like ETA and their driver's contact information.

The Volvo deal will see Uber buy XC90 SUVs in a period stretching from 2019 to 2021, according to Bloomberg. Uber will outfit the vehicles with its own sensors and software.

Volvo's engineers have reportedly been working closely with Uber on a "base" driveless vehicle that the latter company can add on to. In exchange, though, Volvo will be able to use the same platform for its own commercial self-driving cars, due in 2021.

Uber has been testing autonomous vehicles in some markets, with the eventual goal of completely replacing its human driver pool. The company hasn't set a definite timeframe for when it will exit testing.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 13
    I do not trust Uber enough to give them my access to my information. However I will be watching to see how this deal pans out.
    frankiemagman1979
  • Reply 2 of 13
    I'm a rideshare driver. I just don't see how a self driving car would deal with road conditions in southeast Florida. 

    edited November 2017 randominternetpersongilly33
  • Reply 3 of 13
    Uber probably won't be long for this world anyway. They've trimmed their losses to "only" about $645 million in the last quarter, so they're losing only over two billion dollars a year. I hate them so much that I intend to buy Didi Chuxing stock as soon as their IPO is offered sometime next year. If Didi is good enough for Apple, they're good enough for me.
    frankieRacerhomieXmacky the macky
  • Reply 4 of 13
    I will no longer use Uber after finding out how horrible of a company they are.
    magman1979
  • Reply 5 of 13
    anomeanome Posts: 1,223member

    Not sure this is a good idea for Uber. Their whole business model is based on the idea that they don't own any vehicles, or employ drivers, so the costs of maintenance and liability are the responsibility of the people who drive for them.

    This is almost as big a reversal of their policy as finally admitting they're a taxi company and volunteering to be governed by the same rules.

    randominternetperson
  • Reply 6 of 13
    SendMcjakSendMcjak Posts: 66unconfirmed, member
    LukeCage said:
    I do not trust Uber enough to give them my access to my information. However I will be watching to see how this deal pans out.
    Unless you denied the "Location Permissions" app request (which would make using the app pretty shitty), you're already sharing "your information" with them.

    I don't trust Uber either, but this new, "live location sharing" is really just a new feature to the existing app.
    edited November 2017
  • Reply 7 of 13
    Uber probably won't be long for this world anyway. They've trimmed their losses to "only" about $645 million in the last quarter, so they're losing only over two billion dollars a year. I hate them so much that I intend to buy Didi Chuxing stock as soon as their IPO is offered sometime next year. If Didi is good enough for Apple, they're good enough for me.
    Those are impressive numbers.  How do you lose that much money when the service you're providing is conceptually so simple?

    But I suppose if you're going to lose hundreds of millions of dollars a month, you might has well but tens of thousands of Volvos.  

    Bizarre.
  • Reply 8 of 13
    zompzomp Posts: 48member
    anome said:

    Not sure this is a good idea for Uber. Their whole business model is based on the idea that they don't own any vehicles, or employ drivers, so the costs of maintenance and liability are the responsibility of the people who drive for them.

    This is almost as big a reversal of their policy as finally admitting they're a taxi company and volunteering to be governed by the same rules.

    There is a time and place for uber Auto..  I personally understand costs of doing business and thought about giving Uber a try just to understand whether or not to invest in them when they go public. Here's the scoop - in so many areas you can only earn about a $1.00 per hour as a driver. Uber takes a larger fee in some cases than the driver receives. When a pick up is 2 miles away and the drive is 15 miles out-yonder and the speed limit is low, you can spend about $4.00 in fuel and one hour of drive time with an empty load coming back - these costs don't even include the wear and tear on your car and Uber stands to lose a ton of money on such nice vehicles.  the only time money can be made is during Surge hours of at least 2X regular rates and up to 5x - these hours are rare and mostly occur on holidays or busy bar districts for about 1 hour when the rates return to normal.  
    At first I thought that I would invest, but if the cost of every vehicle is at least $60,000 and staff to maintain, service, and clean the vehicle along with paying extra for fuels stations, i just can't see how they are going to make money. 
    I hope they do come to market and take on all the long unprofitable rides - busy cities are going to be tough unless they lease paces to pick up passengers; then that is another cost. 
    The idea of buying in an initial public offer is definitely something I will do, but I will eventually sell.
    How can they be profitable? One idea is to have the car full of monitors for advertising purposes and maybe some other forms of advertising like a human in the car to promote local products.
  • Reply 9 of 13
    jd_in_sbjd_in_sb Posts: 1,483member
    Hopefully they get the driverless thing going before they file chapter 11
  • Reply 10 of 13
    SendMcjak said:
    LukeCage said:
    I do not trust Uber enough to give them my access to my information. However I will be watching to see how this deal pans out.
    Unless you denied the "Location Permissions" app request (which would make using the app pretty shitty), you're already sharing "your information" with them.

    I don't trust Uber either, but this new, "live location sharing" is really just a new feature to the existing app.
    I think you are assuming that @LukeCage has installed/uses the Uber app. I'll bet he/she didn't/doesn't. I don't trust Uber either and I've never installed their app or used their services. I'm not sharing my information with them unless they are still pulling dirty or illegal tricks like tracking Lyft riders. 
  • Reply 11 of 13
    For me, Uber has been terrific, and their app works wonderfully.
  • Reply 13 of 13
    More of Uber's stupidity reported today: https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2017/11/21/uber-kept-mum-year-hack-info-57-million-riders-and-drivers/887002001/

    "Personal information belonging to about 57 million Uber customers and drivers was stolen by hackers last October, a breach the company kept hidden for a year and for which its chief security officer was fired this week.

    ...

    Uber discovered that instead of notifying regulators and the affected individuals it had "identified the individuals and obtained assurances that the downloaded data had been destroyed," he wrote.

    Bloomberg reported Tuesday afternoon that the company actually paid the hackers $100,000 to delete the data and keep mum about it."

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