At the Code Conference tonight, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi spoke about the company’s relationship with drivers, autonomous driving, uberEATS having a $6 billion bookings run rate, taking over as CEO and flying taxis, obviously.
Just this week, San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera sent subpoenas to Uber and Lyft seeking information on driver pay, benefits and classification info. Uber wasn’t available for comment at the time, but now it seems that the company is looking at ways to offer benefits and insurance to drivers. Specifically, Uber is looking at an economically sound way to offer drivers a benefits and insurance package so that “this can be a safer way of living,” Khosrowshahi said.
And despite what former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick said in the past about needing to get rid of the driver, Khosrowshahi said he disagrees.
“The face of Uber is the person sitting in the front seat,” Khosrowshahi said. He added that it usually is a man driving, but that he would “love to have more women sitting in the front seat” because it’s a “great form of employment.”
Still, Uber is moving ahead with autonomous driving. That’s in light of the fatal car accident in Tempe, Arizona involving one of Uber’s autonomous vehicles.
“We will get back on the road over the summer,” Khosrowshahi said.
Uber also envisions licensing its technology — once it’s safe enough — to third-parties and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). Despite the high-profile lawsuit between Uber and Waymo over self-driving car technology, Khosrowshahi said he’d welcome Waymo to put its cars into its network. Regarding Uber’s relationship with Waymo, Khosrowshahi said it’s “getting better.”
In addition to Uber’s core driver business and autonomous driving, it has several other things going for it. One of those is uberEATS, which Khosrowshahi said has a $6 billion run rate, is growing 200 percent and is the biggest food delivery company in the world, with the exception of those in China.
Uber also recently acquired JUMP Bikes for about $200 million, launched UberRENT, announced a public transportation partnership with Masabi and is working on flying cars via its Elevate program.
Just like residential and buildings have gone three-dimensional, Khosrowshahi said, “you’re going to have to build a third-dimension in terms of transportation.”
For Uber, Elevate is its “big bet” on that third-dimension of transportation, he said. The big plan with all of these modes of transportation — whether that’s bike sharing, ride sharing, flight sharing or whatnot — is to become a multi-modal transportation service.
“We want to be the Amazon for transportation,” Khosrowshahi said.
Earlier in the conversation, Khosrowshahi shed some light on how he had no idea he’d get the chief executive officer job at Uber. In fact, he said that while his wife thought he would get the job, he wasn’t as optimistic.
He also spoke about his relationship with Kalanick and how, early on, Khosrowshahi asked for space and Kalanick respected that.
“I consult with him the way I consult with the board,” Khosrowshahi said.
Moving forward, Khosrowshahi still has his eyes set on the second half of 2019 to go public.
“We’re on track,” he said.
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