San Francisco Examiner: SF Exploring ‘Legal Action’ Against State for Hidden Lyft, Uber Traffic Data

San Francisco officials are so fed up over traffic potentially caused by Uber and Lyft, they’re considering suing the state to help alleviate the problem.

At a regular meeting of the San Francisco County Transportation Authority Board of Directors on Tuesday, Commissioner Ahsha Safai -- also a San Francisco supervisor -- announced he is exploring legal action against the state.

The problem, said Safai, is that the California Public Utilities Commission has location data of the tens of thousands of Uber and Lyft vehicles on San Francisco streets that may help planners alleviate traffic congestion.

Engadget: Uber's 'Hell' Program Tracked and Targeted Lyft Drivers

In its quest to ensure Lyft remains in second place, Uber reportedly ran a program that exploited a vulnerability in its rival's system. According to The Information, the ride-hailing company's covert software-based program called "Hell" spied on its staunchest competitor's drivers from 2014 to early 2016. It's called Hell, because it served as the counterpart to "God View" or "Heaven," Uber's in-company app that tracked its own drivers and passengers. Unlike God View, which was widely available to corporate employees, only top executives along with select data scientists and personnel knew about Hell.

The program apparently started when Uber decided to create fake Lyft rider accounts and fooled its rival's system into thinking they were in various locations around the city. Those fake riders were positioned in a grid to give Uber the entire view of a city and all of Lyft's drivers within it. As a result, the company can see info on up to eight of its competitor's nearest drivers per fake rider.

Wired: Unlike Hyperloop, Elon's Big Rig Actually Makes Sense

The busiest man in tech already faces looming deadlines for getting a battery factory up to speed, the Model 3 out the door, and a secret payload (probably a spy satellite) into orbit. So you might think he’d resist adding to his to-do list. Nope. Turns out he’s got a team working on a battery-powered truck he will reveal in September, as part of his master plan to shift the world to sustainable energy.

I hear you chuckling. But this idea is not crazy as you might think. Plans for such a truck, if they truly exist, almost certainly call for batteries alone, because Musk disdains hybrids and range-extended electrics like the Chevrolet Volt. That makes his idea easier to design and build than a conventional car, SUV, or pickup (which Musk also wants to make). It helps that he’s not the first guy to think of this. Nikola Motor Company is pursuing a similar goal.

Bloomberg: India Gets Record-Low Bid to Build Solar Power, Minister Says

The price of solar power in India fell to a record low of 3.15 rupees (5 U.S. cents) per kilowatt-hour in a competitive tender where French firm Engie SA’s local arm won rights to develop 250 megawatts.

Power Minister Piyush Goyal confirmed the results on Twitter, saying the prices bid were a record low in the auction in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh. The result is part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambition to install 175 gigawatts of renewables by 2022 and will spur discussion about whether India can rely on solar for more of its electricity.

North American Windpower: IRS Boosts Wind PTC to Adjust for Inflation

On April 11, the Internal Revenue Service announced an inflation adjustment increase in the Production Tax Credit for power sold in 2017 that is generated by wind, closed-loop biomass and geothermal projects to 2.4 cents/kWh from the prior 2.3 cents/kWh.

The inflation adjustment announcement is being published in the Federal Register today.

Such inflation adjustments are welcome news when announced, and they slightly goose the economics of pertinent projects.