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Home / Business / An insider says that Uber's self-image is like a "scientific experiment"

An insider says that Uber's self-image is like a "scientific experiment"



On the way to one of the biggest technological preliminary public services this year, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi secured $ 1 billion from investors to the company's self-image unit, and valued the unit at $ 7.5 billion, Uber confirmed Friday.

The investment, from SoftBank and Toyota (both ownership interests in Uber), spins out a new corporation for Ubers Advanced Technologies Group (ATG). The new LLC has named ATG's leader, Eric Meyhofer, as CEO, Business Insider has confirmed from people who are knowledgeable of the deal.

The majority of the board will be run by Uber, but it will be one governing body for SoftBank and one for Toyota after the deal closes, which is expected in the third quarter.

Uber's own vehicle development is an important part of convincing investors that Uber has a long, bright future with full economic growth when it becomes a public company. Uber mentions autonomous vehicles 1

03 times in the prospectus, "autonomous vehicle technologies" calls part of its "growth strategy".

And Uber has knocked financial incentives ahead of Khosrowshahi worth around $ 100 million if he can convince investors to value the company at $ 120 billion or more in 90 consecutive days, said the prospectus.

Many believe that self-driving cars will be the future of transport, especially the future of uber's niche, transport for rental.

But people in this unit have told Business Insider for months that Uber's self-driving cars are not working very well, and that they only perform reliably on limited, well-known routes, and do not do much progress management.

We have also heard that some engineers working there are questioning Meyhofer's management ability for the task, as the background is in robotics, but self-driving cars rely on autonomy software as their brains.

"If you look at how Eric Meyhofer runs ATG, I don't know if we actually build a product," an employee said, asking for anonymity for fear of retaliation. "It seems like we are running a scientific experiment."

ATG overtakes the car's "autonomous stack", which means the robotic run software, the employee said.

Others near the company described these changes as "always make improvements."

Two grabs of the wheel every kilometer

There are some data that support this person's poor characterization of Uber's self-propelled technology.

In February, California published self-reported "release" data from all autonomous vehicle companies licensed to operate in the state. It refers to how often human security drivers "release" the car's self-propelled capabilities and take control of the car itself.

Uber reported that the cars had driven nearly 27,000 miles in self-driving mode in the state between March 8, 2017 and November 30, 2018. Human drivers took manual control over 70,000 times. That means that for every kilometer the car drove, a driver wheel ran 2.6 times.

ATG chief Eric Meyhofer.
Uber

Compare this track record with Waymo, the company spun out of Google pioneering the field and considered the market leader. Waymo reported that in 2018, human drivers took control of their robot cars only once per 11,017 miles while driving in self-driving.

It is worth noting that Uber's report only covers a year.

On March 18, 2018, one of his cars killed a pedestrian in Arizona, and the Uber benched the cars until December. They have not returned to the California roads, but are driving in Pittsburgh, the home of the ATG headquarters. Pennsylvania does not require autonomous vehicle companies to disclose disengagement information.

The employee we talked to said that the cars have not made great progress in their ability to drive themselves during the four plus months since they have been back on the road.

Insiders told former Business Insider that before the cars had the cars trouble with foliage, certain shadows, tree branches and other things. A former security driver told us he needed medical attention from the time his car continually slammed on the brakes when a pedestrian was discovered on the sidewalk.

When Uber solved the disconnection report, the company explained the relatively high number by saying that drivers are trained to take the wheel.

"We measure self-propelled system performance by looking at a range of actions, including computer-generated simulation of real-life events and test track results. Safety is our priority. Our mission specialists are trained to celebrate on the caution and to take manual control of our system as

$ 400,000 and counting

The person we talked to said the big bright spot is that ATG has made progress on the 16 internal security-related goals set for employees after arriving back to the roads.

These include the development of better metrics to measure security and improve the security driver operator program. People at ATG feel empowered to speak up over security issues, according to the latest employee survey we achieved.

Uber

But others told us that wages are so good, many people are in heads-down mode, and I wish to rock the boat over how well the car performs.

Someone will not kill his cash cow, said this person, and echo what half a dozen former employees have previously told us.

A typical senior ATG engineer, not a director but an experienced worker, can make $ 300,000 to $ 400,000 a year between salaries, bonuses and shares, several people have told us.

Many highly-paid engineers believe their shares will be worth a few hundred thousand if Uber's IPO goes well, one person said.

And those who are in Uber wonder that Meyhofer will be worth millions, if not tens of millions, after the IPO, thanks to his years at Uber and fierce stock quotes for his older role.

With so much money at stake, this insider echoes what others have told us: Some people feel that they work at ATG, are becoming increasingly political, with promotions and plum jobs solely based on who you know.

Others near the company said the complainants were invalid and said that the employment process at ATG is strict.

Many employees there do not feel much presence of Khosrowshahi.

"I like Dara, but he must be more visible on ATG. This whole culture is destroyed and destroyed in the same way that Uber 1.0 was destroyed," said this employee.

But now that ATG is its own LLC, with board members – including one from Toyota – assigned the task, people hope that project oversight will be better. An ATG employee said the group would no longer be able to rely on controlled demos anymore and would probably have to back up performance requirements with data.


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