(1) (Uber, Inc. San Francisco, CA, www.uber.com) The first unlicensed taxicab service to use a mobile app for securing rides in vehicles owned by contracted drivers. Founded in 2009 by Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp, Uber has been a very controversial service from the start. The company has been hit with lawsuits and government cease and desist orders due to complaints by licensed taxicab organizations. Nevertheless, Uber is thriving and is available in more than 200 cities worldwide.
In order to offer driverless cabs, in 2015, Uber hired approximately 40 scientists from Carnegie Mellon University's renowned AI and robotics research lab. One year later, Pittsburgh became the first city to test Uber-modified Volvo SUVs. Not yet driverless, a note-taking specialist is present as well as a human driver who can take over the wheel. Drivers are restricted from speaking to the passenger in order to emulate the driverless experience (see autonomous vehicle). See Lyft, transportation network company and on-demand economy.
(2) A popular prefix for "super" or "over-the-top," such as "uber-geek" (really technical person) and "uber-pipe" (super high-speed channel). An "uber computer" is a top-of-the-line machine. Uber is German for "above" (also "about" and "across"). The German word has double dots (an umlaut) over the "u" and is alternately spelled "ueber."