Uber grounds self-driving cars after accident

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A self-driven Volvo SUV owned and operated by Uber Technologies Inc. is flipped on its side after a collision in Tempe, Arizona, on March 24, 2017.(Courtesy Fresco News/Mark Beach/Handout via Reuters)
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A self-driven Volvo SUV owned and operated by Uber Technologies Inc. is flipped on its side after a collision in Tempe, Arizona, US on March 24, 2017. (Courtesy Fresco News/Mark Beach/Handout via Reuters)
Updated 26 March 2017

Uber grounds self-driving cars after accident

WASHINGTON: Uber has grounded its fleet of self-driving cars pending an investigation into the crash of an Uber autonomous vehicle in Arizona, a spokesperson for the car-hailing service said Sunday.
No one was seriously injured in the accident which occurred Friday in Tempe, Arizona while the vehicle — a Volvo SUV — was in self-driving mode, the company said.
“We are continuing to look into this incident and can confirm we had no backseat passengers in the vehicle,” the Uber spokesperson said.
The accident occurred when the other vehicle “failed to yield” while making a left turn, Tempe police spokeswoman Josie Montenegros said.
“The vehicles collided causing the autonomous vehicle to roll onto it’s side. There were no serious injuries,” she said.
Self-driving Uber vehicles always have a driver who can take over the controls at any time.
Montenegro said it was uncertain whether the Uber driver was controlling the vehicle at the time of the collision.
The company grounded its self-driving vehicles in Arizona after the accident, and then followed up on Saturday pulling them off the road in Pittsburg and San Francisco, the two other locations where it operates self-driving vehicles, the company said.
The car-hailing service has been dented by a series of bad news stories, including disclosures about a culture of sexism, cut-throat workplace tactics and covert use of law enforcement-evading software.
A number of executives have left the company in recent weeks, including president Jeff Jones, as troubles have mounted.
Advocates of self-driving cars say that they can cut down on deadly traffic accidents by eliminating human error.
But there have been accidents, including a fatality in Florida in May when a truck struck a speeding Tesla that was on autopilot.
An investigation found no safety-related defects with the autopilot system, but concluded that the driver may have had time to avert the crash if he had been paying closer attention.


Alibaba confirms huge Hong Kong public listing worth at least $13bn

Updated 15 November 2019

Alibaba confirms huge Hong Kong public listing worth at least $13bn

  • Over-allocation options could take the total value to more than $13 billion, making it one of the biggest IPOs in Hong Kong for a decade
  • Alibaba Chief Executive Officer said the group wanted to participate in Hong Kong’s future

HONG KONG: Chinese technology giant Alibaba on Friday confirmed plans to list in Hong Kong in what it called a $13 billion vote of confidence in the turbulent city’s markets and a step forward in its plans to go global.
The enormous IPO, which Hong Kong had lobbied for, will come as a boost for authorities wrestling with pro-democracy protests that have tarnished the financial hub’s image for order and security and hammered its stock market.
Alibaba will offer 500 million shares at a maximum of HK$188 apiece to retail investors, the company said. The number eight is considered auspicious in China.
Over-allocation options could take the total value to more than $13 billion, making it one of the biggest IPOs in Hong Kong for a decade after insurance giant AIA raised $20.5 billion in 2010.
Alibaba had planned to list in the summer but called it off owing to the city’s long-running pro-democracy protests and the China-US trade war. The US and China are now working on sealing a partial trade deal.
Daniel Zhang, Alibaba Chief Executive Officer, said the group wanted to “contribute, in our small way, and participate in the future of Hong Kong.”
“During this time of ongoing change, we continue to believe that the future of Hong Kong remains bright,” he said.
The firm’s shares are already traded in New York. A second listing in Hong Kong is expected to curry favor with Beijing, which has sought to encourage its current and future big tech firms to list nearer to home after the loss of companies such as Baidu to Wall Street.
In the statement, Zhang said that when Alibaba went public in 2014 it “missed out on Hong Kong with regret.”
Mainland authorities have also stepped up moves to attract such listings, including launching a new technology board in Shanghai in July.
The listing comes after the city’s exchange tweaked the rules to allow double listings, while Chief Executive Carrie Lam had also been pushing Alibaba’s billionaire founder Jack Ma to sell shares in the city.
“The listing in Hong Kong will allow more of the company’s users and stakeholders in the Alibaba digital economy across Asia to invest and participate in Alibaba’s growth,” the company said.
It has long been expected to launch a multibillion-dollar stock listing in Hong Kong but appeared to postpone the offering because of political and economic turmoil.
Hong Kong’s key Hang Seng Index rose 0.48 percent in morning trading following the announcement
Chinese shoppers set new records for spending on Monday’s annual 24-hour “Singles’ Day” buying spree, despite an economic slowdown in the country and the worries over the US trade war.
It said consumers spent $38.3 billion on its platforms over that stretch, up 26 percent from the previous all-time high mark set last year.
Alibaba also said it saw record amounts of cross-border sales, underlining its plans to expand globally.
“Globalization is the future of Alibaba Group. We firmly believe the marriage of digital technology and commerce will bring about unprecedented change that will not be limited by borders,” Zhang said.