Tesla has scored a key player in the driverless game in the wake of Uber’s tumultuous data scandal. Former Head of Global Physical Security at Uber Jeff Jones will join forces with Elon Musk to help Tesla forge ahead in their autonomous vehicle mission.
Battling city bans and staff tribunals became the least of Uber’s woes this winter, when the company admitted it released the data of 57 million users worldwide in 2016. Several senior managers walked out of Uber amid the ensuing media frenzy, including the heads of policy for Europe and for India and South Asia as well as Uber Eats chief Jambu Palaniappan.
The data scandal only compounded a slew of PR nightmares in 2017, including sexism allegations and disputes over workers’ rights, preceding the resignation of CEO and co-founder Travis Kalanick in July. A recent EU court ruling that Uber is a transport app rather than an information society service could pave the way for tighter regulation of the taxi-hailing firm at national level.
Jones announced his new position as Head of Global Security at Tesla this month on LinkedIn, after just over two years as a senior director of Uber. The science, economics and business graduate lists his former positions as director of security at Western Union and ten years as a Special Agent for the US Secret Service.
A further (perhaps unsurprising) revelation regarding Elon Musk emerged on Friday as a political writer claimed he overhead the SpaceX CEO lobbying President Donald Trump to establish human colonies on other planets. Michael Wolff previewed an excerpt from his insider take on Trump’s time in the White House detailing Musk’s attempts to keep the “race to Mars” among the new President’s priorities.
Musk is no stranger to outlandish ambition. Last month the tech visionary announced the launch of “an original Tesla Roadster, playing Space Oddity, on a billion year elliptic Mars orbit” with the caption of “A Red Car for the Red Planet” on Instagram.
The South-African-born engineer is also making strides in the energy sector on Earth, with Tesla commissioned to build a 20MW green battery system in Victoria, Australia, following the success of the Powerpack Project in Southern Australia at the end of 2017. The planned power structure will support an existing wind farm as part of the Bulgana Green Power Hub in the west of the region.