Despite backlashes and negative publicity because of sexual harassment, customer neglect reports, sexism, and public protests that made the CEO stepped down from tech advisory board of President Trump’s new cabinet, Uber still does not stop innovating to offer the next best thing for the customers. Tapping out to futuristic dream of automatic, self-driving cars, Uber has currently offered its first self-driving fleet to customers in Arizona State, USA. While this shows Arizona’s open-minded approach toward progressive tech inventions, the application of the new fleet has resulted from various rejections and roadblocks.
Arizona’s Progressive Stance on Advanced Car TechWhile many other states in the US still reject self-driving car, Arizona has always had more progressive stance when it comes to car technology. Self-driving car fleet, which comes in the form of Volvo XC90, will serve customers in Arizona not too long after its establishment. The proposal itself had been rejected several times on various grounds in several states (especially California), before the governor of Arizona passed the fleet proposal from Uber. The reasons behind those rejections include requirement for specific (and expensive) car license, and general worries about the safety of self-driving car in general.
Doug Ducey, the current governor of Arizona, welcomed the proposal for self-driving Uber fleet with open arms. The governor himself has been known as having huge interests in Uber’s high tech innovation. He is also responsible for opening Arizona as popular place to test various automotive products, including self-driving vehicles. However, Uber will not slack off in polishing its self-driving car fleet. For example, there will be two driver engineers employed in Uber Arizona, in order to control, supervise, and operate the fleet. Each car will be “manned” by two driver engineers.
However, despite being a potential project, Uber may not be able to bounce back from negative publicities that have lately befallen the company.
Uber Still Struggles to Recover from Negative PressThe self-driving car fleet may be great innovation and an opportunity to expand Uber’s technological reach, but there have been quite a lot bad publicity about Uber, it is hard to determine whether the company will be able to bounce back or not. Uber has long been accused of not doing enough to prevent sexual harassments toward passengers, which was amplified by a confession from former Uber employee about how the company ignored sexual harassment reports.
Uber also earned negative publicity following the CEO, Travis Kalanick. Aside from sexism accusation, Kalanick had also received backlash from public because of his position as member of Trump’s advisory board for technology. Kalanick finally decided to step down after many people deleted their Uber accounts in protest. Meanwhile, the sexism accusation will likely to result in independent investigation. Uber definitely needs to improve its image, and the self-driving fleet in Arizona may become its first step.
Despite the technological innovation, Uber needs to fix a lot of problems that recently happened within the company. Looking at the negative backlash, it seems that Uber needs to step up its strategy to win back its customers.