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Wednesday 06 November 2019

Bad Hair Day for Uber and Softbank

Ubr SoftbankThere are days when all the news about you is on the bad news pile - and I’m not just talking about the first day of the Conservative’s Election Campaign.

First Softbank had to announce its first loss in its 14 year existence. Its Vision Fund took a $8.9b write-down on its WeWork investment (well covered in HotViews if you search the archive) but also on the post IPO performance of UBER. Yesterday we reported on Uber’s Q3 results - See True to its word UBER increases losses in Q3.

That was before today’s 5+% decline in Uber’s share price as the lock-in period post IPO ended. So that’s a 40+% decline in less than six months since the Uber IPO.

The bad news surrounding Uber continued as the US National Transportation Safety Board issued its findings on the March 18 fatal crash involving a Uber self-driving car. What caused the 'sharp intake of breath' was the admission that Uber’s software was not programmed for pedestrians who jaywalked. It only recognised objects as humans if they were on or close to sidewalks (or pavements as we call them)

As long-term readers will know I question the mix of cars, cyclists and pedestrians with self-driving vehicles. I just don’t think it will ever work. I can see a day when ONLY self-driving cars will be allowed on motorways. I can also see driver-assist systems warning (and taking evasive action) of potential impacts with pedestrians, cyclists (and other cars). That will save many lives. But true self-driving cars in areas of mixed occupancy, I just don’t think will ever work.

Posted by: Richard Holway

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