Sunday, December 22, 2019

the last book I ever read (Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber by Mike Isaac, excerpt fourteen)

from Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber by Mike Isaac:

Worse for Kalanick, his board of directors was putting new pressure on him to fire Anthony Levandowski. By late March, the dirt that had come out on Levandowski turned him into a major liability.

In December 2016, Levandowski had launched a self-driving-car test program in San Francisco without a permit and in direct defiance of the California transit authorities, who called the maneuver illegal. Almost immediately, the test program went awry. One of Uber’s test cars blew through a red light in broad daylight, an event captured on the dashboard camera of a nearby motorist. As the clip went viral online, Uber issued a statement: “This incident was due to human error. This vehicle was not part of the pilot and was not carrying customers. The driver involved has been suspended while we continue to investigate. This is why we believe so much in making the roads safer by building self-driving Ubers.”

But three months later, the New York Times published a story, citing internal documents, that claimed Uber’s narrative was false; it was the self-driving software that missed the red light, not the driver. Uber had lied to reporters, on the record, about an illegal program it was running in its hometown.

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