How many of us haven’t used Uber at least once? Not many, right? So that’s how this company has grown since 2009. It started from a brilliant idea and touched all our lives and is now has a revenue of around 5.5 Billion.
What do you think will be the future of Uber? Consider the developments in the field of AI before you answer this question. The world is looking at a future with self-driving cars and the pioneers like Google, BMW and Ford are already working on their own plans. So, if Uber has to survive, it has to get into the competition too – and it did.
As you know, Uber has been developing self driving cars and they have done a few test drives too. When everything was going well – a couple of things happened (worse things) all of a sudden:
One of its ex-employees posted a blog describing a workplace where sexual harassment was common and went unpunished. The blog went viral on internet and Uber had to start an internal investigation.
Then, Bloomberg released a video that showed Kalanick (co-founder of Uber) berating a Uber driver who had complained about cuts to rates paid to drivers, resulting in Kalanick making a public apology.
Making it worse, a few high level executives have left Uber in the last few weeks.
If you think these aren’t big enough to affect Uber as a company, there is something new – Waymo, the self-driving car unit of Google parent Alphabet has gone to court with some SERIOUS allegations which in case proven right will put Uber in a bad, very bad state.
Now listen – everything I mention here are based on what I read online and Uber is to contest these claims in court.
Anthony Levandowski is a former Waymo employee and he left Waymo to start his own self-driving-trucks company named Otto. This company was later on acquired by Uber for a few hundred millions.
Waymo alleges that Levandowski while working at Waymo, downloaded 14000 of sensitive documents regarding the self-driving projects of Waymo and then used these in his own company which in-turn was acquired by Uber.
One of the most powerful parts of Waymo’s self-driving technology is their custom-built LiDAR or “Light Detection and Ranging”. The designs of Waymo’s Li-DAR and circuit board were included in the 14,000 files that Levandowski has downloaded.
One funny thing is, Waymo got to know about this when one of its suppliers sent an email and cc’d a Waymo employee ‘by mistake’. The email was about Uber’s LiDAR circuit board, however its design had a striking resemblance to Waymo’s unique LiDAR design.
So the story would get real serious IF Waymo proves this – Levandowski and Uber had all these well planned – to get the secret files, start a company for the time being and then get acquired by Uber.
Uber has already rejected the allegations saying these are baseless just to slowdown a competitor.
Anyways this is with the court and a hearing is scheduled for April 27 – let’s see how it unfolds.
It’ll decide Uber’s future!