#DeleteUber campaign might harm company’s self-driving plans

The #DeleteUber campaign has hit the company hard, it lost 200,000 users and CEO Travis Kalanick resigned from Donald Trump’s advisory board. It might not be the end for Uber’s woes, as labor groups and activists in Pittsburgh look to use the campaign to attack its self-driving program.

Hundreds of people hit the streets of Pittsburgh to protest Uber’s growing presence in the city and its lack of compliance with federal and state worker laws. The company is currently building a high-tech engineering facility and tests its self-driving taxi program in the city.

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Protesters called on Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto to reject Uber as a partner and look at other, more publicly-controlled transportation options. Peduto said he talked to Uber CEO Travis Kalanick about his disapproval of the travel ban and his place on the advisory board, but did not give any assurances that he would slow Uber’s advances in Pittsburgh.

“Since our conversations started with Uber in Pittsburgh, I’ve not hesitated to express my disappointment when necessary,” said Peduto in a statement to The Verge. “But I also believe that Uber has the potential to help change the world of 21st Century transportation. Uber can and should develop a successful business model that cities they operate in can also benefit from.”

Simple ways for Uber to improve?

“There are very simple ways for Uber to become more open and people-centric in their operations and provide incentives for their employees that can change people’s lives. We haven’t seen that happen yet, but the potential is there and we expect to see it happen,” he added.

Uber has not commented directly on Peduto’s statement, but did say it is spending $3 million on legal funds to make sure drivers are not affected by the travel ban.

The loss of Pittsburgh could harm Uber’s self-driving plans, which have already been hit by California’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) asking the ridesharing firm to apply for a special self-driving permit. That forced Uber to relocate its fleet from California to Arizona.

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