Hope everyone is ready to download Uber again, because these folks are back on track! For starters, after the $70-billion valued ride-hailing company was called out by a report in the New York Times that exposed its use of a "Greyball" tool to evade regulators, Uber is crying "uncle."
"We have started a review of the different ways [Greyball] has been used to date," Uber representatives write to the company's blog today, referring to the tool that identified regulators or spying competitors and served them a fake version of its app to prevent them from hailing a ride. "In addition, we are expressly prohibiting its use to target action by local regulators going forward," Uber said of the tool. The Associated Press adds that Uber will respond to city officials like those in Portland, Oregon who have opened inquiries into whether their employees were "Greyballed."
Notably, Uber never denied it used the Greyball tool, instead humblebragging to the Times that the "program denies ride requests to users who are violating our terms of service, whether that's people aiming to physically harm drivers, competitors looking to disrupt our operations, or opponents who collude with officials on secret ‘stings’ meant to entrap drivers.”
Uber is also righting another of its recent wrongs, having at last applied for the self-driving vehicle permits with the DMV last week that it had previously claimed were unnecessary to its operations in the state. In another article, the Associated Press reports that the self-driving Ubers will be two Volvo SUVs carefully obeying red lights that were approved for public California roads yesterday. 48 backup drivers who have been approved for the task will be busy monitoring the vehicles and taking over when necessary. Unlike during the ill-fated, unregulated trial period of two months ago, self-driving Ubers won't be picking up passengers, mind you.
Finally, CEO Travis Kalanick — whose "regulate my dust!" attitude has animated the company he runs — is seeking a number two, he announced on the Uber blog Tuesday. "This morning I told the Uber team that we’re actively looking for a Chief Operating Officer: a peer who can partner with me to write the next chapter in our journey."
Think of the COO as, I don't know... a backup driver for Kalanick for when he's careening towards a red light.