Headlines 

Uber narrows down search for international city to host flying taxis

First, there was Dallas and Los Angeles. Now Uber wants a third city to fly its air taxi service, and it’s looking internationally. In what feels like Amazon’s search for a second headquarters location, Uber this week announced its shortlist for countries the ride-hailing app would work with to launch its aviation project UberAir, a flight-sharing network with electric vertical take-off and landing (e-VTOLs) aircraft. The planes are expected to cruise at about 150 mph and reach about 2,000 feet. The electric planes will go 60 miles on a charge.…

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Headlines 

Uber CEO wants more riders on scooters and bikes, even if it brings in less money

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi is all in on bikes.Image: Michele Tantussi/Getty Images Uber is a ride-hailing app, but lately it’s become an app for riding an electric bike or scooter, renting a car, and even checking when the bus is coming. In an interview released over the weekend in the Financial Times, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi emphasized his goal of turning Uber into a diverse mobility platform. Translation: He wants the app to offer passengers as many different ways to get around as possible. It’s not just about ordering a…

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Odds and Ends 

Spanish anti-Uber taxi strike ends after government agrees new regulation

A national six-day taxi driver strike in Spain has ended after the government agreed to pass regulation that will allow the country’s autonomous communities to cap the number of private hire vehicle permits within their cities. The VTC licenses are used by Uber and local ride-hailing rival Cabify to offer professional driver services in the country. So the government’s decision looks likely to limit the size of their businesses in regional markets which choose to uphold the cap. Previous decisions by European courts have essentially closed down Uber’s p2p (non-professional driver)…

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Headlines 

Passengers Wont Stop Complimenting This Uber Drivers Music, So He Reveals How He Sorted People Into 11 Categories

After TJ’s initial tweet racked up 260K likes back in February, people have been flooding their feed with compliments and requests. From “white dudes who look like [they] like rap” to “quiet ppl”, Jones has a playlist for everyone. With the encouragement, the Spotify playlist virtuoso decided to create more collections and is now a professional playlist curator. Scroll down below to check out the story for yourself, and let us know what you think in the comments! Meet TJ Jones (who uses they/them pronouns) whose Spotify playlists went viral…

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Headlines 

This Week in the Future of Cars: The Inside Look

Every so often, WIRED gets to take a good, long sojourn behind the scenes, to observe what the people we write about are doing all day. This was one of those nice weeks. Editor Alex Davies hopped a plane to Winnemucca, an isolated mining town in northern Nevada that’s hosting Alphabet’s latest moonshot: its effort to spread the gospel of internet via broadcasting balloons. Senior writer Jessi Hempl got under Uber’s hood after the announcement that HR chief Liane Hornsey—the woman brought in to fix the unicorn’s culture—resigned for improperly…

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Odds and Ends 

50 tech CEOs come to Paris to talk about tech for good

Ahead of VivaTech, 50 tech CEOs came to Paris to have lunch with French President Emmanuel Macron. Then, they all worked together on “tech for good”. The event was all about leveraging tech around three topics — education, labor and diversity. At the end of the day, French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe invited everyone for a speech in Matignon. It wasn’t a groundbreaking speech as Macron is also speaking at VivaTech tomorrow morning. “We’re trying to pivot France,” Philippe said. “Dara, Ginni and Bill, thank you for your introduction, that…

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Headlines 

Uber Unveils the Flying Taxi It Wants to Rule the Skies

If you trust the folks with their eyes tilted upward and their hands waving in the air, flying taxis could be a traffic panacea, leveraging the third dimension to make room for everyone. Uber is among the most fervent believers, and today the company revealed the vehicle it hopes will realize this congestion killer: the aspirationally—if not inspirationally—named Common Reference Model. The concept is all-electric, and seats four people plus a pilot, in single file in a slim, cylindrical body with large windows. The design, reminiscent of a catamaran, features…

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Headlines 

Heat-Seeking Cameras Could Help Keep Self-Driving Cars Safe

After Uber’s fatal self-driving crash last month in Tempe, Arizona, most observers had two basic question: Why did the car not see Elaine Herzberg crossing the street and stop before hitting her? And how can we stop this happening again, to someone else? The ride-hailing company has indefinitely suspended its testing program, and is cooperating with the National Transportation Safety Board’s investigation of the crash. The NTSB hasn’t revealed any findings yet, but the lidar—the laser-shooting sensor that should have spotted Herzberg, even in the dark—is an obvious focus. Maybe…

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Odds and Ends 

MIT study shows how much driving for Uber or Lyft sucks

Ride-hailing giants Uber and Lyft are delivering pitiful levels of take-home pay to the hundreds of thousands of US independent contractors providing their own vehicles and driving skills to deliver the core service, according to an MIT CEEPR study examining the economics of the two app platforms. The report catalyses the debate about conditions for workers on gig economy platforms, and raises serious questions about the wider societal impacts of tax avoiding, VC-funded tech giants. The study, entitled The Economics of Ride-Hailing: Driver Revenue, Expenses and Taxes, and which was carried out by…

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Headlines 

The Unavoidable Folly of Making Humans Train Self-Driving Cars

The British Royal Air Force had a problem. It was 1943, and the Brits were using radar equipment to spot German submarines sneaking around off the western coast of France. The young men sitting in planes circling over the Bay of Biscay had more than enough motivation to keep a watchful eye for the telltale blips on the screens in front of them. Yet they had a worrying tendency to miss the signals they’d been trained to spot. The longer they spent looking at the screen, the less reliable they…

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Odds and Ends 

Uber is reportedly preparing to sell its Southeast Asian business to Grab

Uber is preparing to sell its Southeast Asian business to Grab in exchange for a stake in the Singaporean ridesharing company that has a big presence in that region, according to a new report from CNBC. This wouldn’t be an unfamiliar story for Uber, which was handily beaten by Didi in China before eventually caving and selling the company to the dominant ridesharing startup in China. Uber sold its Chinese business to Didi in August 2016, which involved an equity deal. In that sense, Uber may be acknowledging where it’s…

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Headlines 

Hack Brief: Uber Paid Off Hackers to Hide a 57-Million User Data Breach

By now, the name Uber has become practically synonymous with scandal. But this time the company has outdone itself, building a Jenga-style tower of scandals on top of scandals that has only now come crashing down. Not only did the ridesharing service lose control of 57 million people's private information, it also hid that massive breach for more than a year, a cover-up that potentially defied data breach disclosure laws. Uber may have even actively deceived Federal Trade Commission investigators who were already looking into the company for distinct, earlier…

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Odds and Ends 

Uber loses its license to operate in London

In a huge blow to Uber in the UK London’s transport regulator has rejected its application to renew its license to operate in the city. In a statement today TfL said it has concluded that Uber is “not fit and proper to hold a private hire operator licence”. “TfL’s regulation of London’s taxi and private hire trades is designed to ensure passenger safety.  Private hire operators must meet rigorous regulations, and demonstrate to TfL that they do so, in order to operate.  TfL must also be satisfied that an operator…

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Odds and Ends 

Uber investor Shervin Pishevar petitions Benchmark to step down from board and sell some of its stock

Shortly after a group of Uber shareholders asked Benchmark to relinquish its spot on Ubers board of directors, Sherpa Capitals Shervin Pishevar is petitioning Benchmark via Change.org to remove itself from Ubers board. The petition also asks Benchmark to sell at least 75 percent of its stock so that the firm no longer has rights to appoint members to Ubers board of directors. We have investors ready to acquire these shares as soonas we receive communication from Benchmark that they are willing to withdraw their lawsuitand sell a minimum of…

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Odds and Ends 

Uber shareholder group asks Benchmark to step down from board following Kalanick suit

In what is rapidly devolving into an all-out brawl on the board of the worlds highest-valued private company, a group of Uber shareholders have asked the venture capital firm Benchmark to step down from the board of directors. This move comes only a day after Benchmark took the aggressive step of filing suit against Ubers former CEO Travis Kalanick, arguing that the founder had violated his fiduciary duty to the company and had committed fraud by seeking to increase his power over Uber for his own selfish ends. Their suit…

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