Uber Says There Are No Such Thing As “Phantom Cars”

30 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Are Uber screen cars just phantoms?.

The company has responded to claims that it shows users of its app “phantom cars” that don’t actually exist, saying the reason why a driver’s location may not always be accurately reflected in the passenger app is due to factors like latency, driver safety and desire to maintain a good user experience within the app.Researchers analysed the firm’s app, and fund that the cars shown often didn’t tally up with the expected times – forcing Uber to admit the maps don’t always show the ‘real’ cars nearby.Given all the noise and unknowns about Uber, the ride-sharing app-based service, it may be best to wait to see the outcome of the four-month study of the company proposed by the mayor. Uber drivers in the US have claimed that the smartphone-based car service often displays ‘phantom cars’, which are not actually circling the location, when customers request a journey.

Rosenblat and Stark cited driver and passenger testimonies which suggested that the app shows cars present in the passengers’ vicinity even when none are there. That plan has been put on hold, and in its place the mayor has agreed to a four-month study to sort out the problems of congestion and other issues raised by dissenters. Research from Alex Rosenblat, a New York-based data researcher who studied how Uber drivers interact with the Uber app, alleges that Uber customers are manipulated by the symbols on their screens. “If a potential passenger opened up the app and saw no cars around, she might take another cab service. It would be better of you to think of this as a screen saver on a computer.” “Our goal is for the number of cars and their location to be as accurate as possible in real time,” a spokesperson told the Guardian. “Latency is one reason this is not always possible. The magnitude of surge can vary across a given region. ‘Also, to protect the safety of drivers, in some volatile situations, the app doesn’t show the specific location of individual cars until the ride is requested.’ Venture capitalist Steve Jurvetson recently recounted his conversation with Kalanick at the 17th annual Top 10 Tech Trends dinner in San Jose, California, Forbes reported.

Alex Rosenblat and Luke Stark, researchers studying Uber’s user interaction, discovered that the map Uber shows passengers of its available local drivers isn’t very accurate/may be intentionally misleading. They used to have elevator operators, and then we developed some simple circuitry to have elevators just automatically come to the floor that you’re at … the car is going to be just like that,’ he told NVidia’s CEO, Jen-Hsun Huang at the company’s annual developers conference in March. If there was a rift between them, it was quickly settled the other day and the two have “agreed to disagree.” How this sits with Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, chair of the Council’s Transportation Committee, may not be a reconciliation he favors because he has been outspoken against Uber, charging that it is using tactics “similar to Walmart.” We hope that at the end of the study period, we will have a better idea of the Uber impact and if the mayor and the speaker can move forward amicably on with a balanced program. When Heather questioned Uber about the discrepancy, she was told the app merely displayed a “screen saver”. “The app is simply showing there are partners on the road at the time,” a company representative told her in an email. Any balance, we believe, would have to settle the question of employment opportunities with the company’s overall profit margins and whether it will retain 20 or 32 percent of revenue.

Tesla is among many firms that have added self-driving features to its cars and joins the likes of BMW, Volvo and Google, which are developing cars that could drive themselves completely. Tesla’s Model S features an ‘autopilot’ mode, which uses sensors to stop drivers drifting accidently between motorway lanes, as well as moderate speed and brake when necessary. Zooming in on the area around Mashable’s downtown San Francisco office, for example, shows eight nearby cars while zooming in on my neighborhood 4 miles away also showed eight nearby drivers.

We are aware that Uber is appealing the decision of California Labor Commissioner’s Office, which ruled ruled that an Uber driver who used the company’s app to connect with customers must be considered an employee, not an independent contractor. Verified email addresses: All users on Independent Media news sites are now required to have a verified email address before being allowed to comment on articles. These issues are just a few of the questions and concerns we have about a company that purports to be a “small business” but is valued at over $50 billion, according to Rodriguez.

In many respects, the genie is out of the bottle, and the best we can hope for is that Uber abides by the rules and regulations of all the city’s taxis. In one of many driver forum threads about the “ghost cars,” a driver said that Uber claimed it was just a technical issue: This came up in our weekly virtual Uber webinar.

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