Amazon.com Inc.’s Zoox unit has pulled back the curtains on a homegrown self-driving taxi that can cover up to 75m/h (10 km/h) and drive more than half a day on a single battery charge.
The self-driving taxi (pictured) debuted by Zoox this morning is about 12 feet (3.65 metres) long, has no steering wheel and can seat four passengers. A specially developed airbag system is attached to each seat. Under the hood, an artificial intelligence driving system pilots the taxi with the help of road data collected by lidar sensors, radars and cameras placed on the vehicle’s exterior.
The U.S. Department of Labor last month said it would soon propose a rule that could make it easier to classify workers as independent contractors rather than employees, a major issue for the “gig economy” and other industries that use contractors to contain costs.
The potential misclassification of workers as independent contractors has been the subject of renewed scrutiny with the growth of the gig economy. The Obama administration issued informal guidance attempting to limit the scope of independent contractor status, but the current administration withdrew that guidance on June 7, 2017.
Uber has bought UK based Autocab, which is active in 20 countries, with the aim of expanding its own platform by linking users who open its app in places where it doesn’t offer trips.
Uber’s spokeswoman said it plans to support Autocab’s expansion of SaaS and iGo internationally — suggesting the tech giant hopes to be able to integrate the marketplace across its own global footprint in order to be able to offer users a less patchy service.
The move also looks intended to create more opportunities for Uber drivers to pick up jobs from outside its own platform, including delivery work.
Canada's top court found that Uber's costly arbitration process to settle disputes is "unconscionable and therefore invalid." The Supreme Court of Canada cleared the way for a CAN$400 million (AUS$425 million) class action lawsuit to force Uber to recognise drivers as employees, while ruling its arbitration scheme void. "Respect for arbitration is based on its being a cost-effective and efficient method of resolving disputes," Chief Justice Richard Wagner wrote in the decision."
"When arbitration is realistically unattainable, it amounts to no dispute resolution mechanism at all."
The case involved David Heller, a delivery driver for UberEats who sought in 2017 to launch a class-action to force Uber to recognise its drivers as employees rather than independent contractors.