Here Launches SoMo, a Social Mobility App for Ride Sharing, Public Transport, and More

Gadgets 360 – January 8, 2019

A tech company launched an app Monday that offers public and private options to help people get around, including subway, buses, bike-share, ride-hailing companies and even temporary carpooling arrangements using a person’s social network. The SoMo app – short for social mobility – is the work of HERE Technologies, a company specializing in GPS-related applications. Liad Itzhak, a senior vice president with the company, said the app launched in 15 cities around the world, including Los Angeles, with plans to add about five cities a month. Itzhak said the app intends to make it easier for users to get from one place to another by presenting the widest array of options. “What we have created with the app is the complete opposite approach in the current market,” Itzhak said. Most software-based transportation services are trying to build a customer base around that service alone. Users also tend to pick an app such as Uber and stick with it as their primary method of arranging a ride – a practice that could lead to limited options if one or two companies dominate the field. SoMo broadens options by showing Lyft, Via or other ride-hailing services, not to mention taxis or train or bus routes.

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A Look Inside Bosch’s Driverless Shuttle

PCMag.com – January 7, 2019

Self-driving cars are inching closer to mainstream deployment, but in the meantime some of the first driverless vehicles we’ll see on the roads are fleets of autonomous mass transit buses and shuttles. German appliance and tech company Bosch—which makes everything from kitchen appliances and smart thermostats to connected city and transportation systems—showed off its new concept shuttle designed to decrease emissions while improving urban traffic flows. The minimalist ride-sharing electric vehicle has a sleek, sci-fi-looking exterior made of displays screens and glass. The interior has four cushioned white seats with an infotainment tablet mounted on each side, plus standing room in the middle. Bosch plans to sell white-label shuttles to cities and local municipalities, offering not only the components and systems but software and services as well, such as reservation, ride-sharing, and parking apps.

What Motivates Workers in the Gig Economy?

Knowledge@Wharton – January 7, 2019

The gig economy offers tremendous flexibility for workers and companies, but it also comes with a host of unknown factors for both parties. A new study co-authored by Wharton professor of operations, information and decisions Gad Allon looks at how drivers for a ride-hailing firm make labor decisions – when to work, and for how long – and aims to improve predictions about labor supply and to shed light on more effective financial incentives. The paper, titled “The Impact of Behavioral and Economic Drivers on Gig Economy Workers,” is co-authored by New York University Stern School of Business professor Maxime Cohen and Wharton doctoral candidate Park Sinchaisri. Allon recently visited the Knowledge@Wharton radio show on SiriusXM to discuss the implications of the study and what the future of work could look like.

Segway is Getting into Autonomous Deliveries

Entrepreneur – January 3, 2019

Most people are probably never going to own a Segway, but the company is aiming to have more people interact with its products. At CES 2019, Segway-Ninebot will debut its first ever autonomous delivery robot designed to perform the final leg like of transporting packages. It’s also showing off the Model Max, its next generation of shared scooter designed to get people around the city (or be ditched on the sidewalk).

GM’s Cruise Partners with DoorDash to Test Autonomous Food Delivery

The Verge – January 3, 2019

Cruise Automation, the self-driving unit of General Motors, is teaming up with DoorDash to test a food delivery service in San Francisco using autonomous vehicles. The pilot will commence in “early 2019,” the companies said, but it will only be available in the section of the city where Cruise has been testing its vehicles. The news comes just two days after GM president Dan Ammann formally assumed his new role as CEO of Cruise, replacing founder Kyle Vogt. (Vogt is now president and chief technology officer of Cruise.) It’s a sign that GM is exploring different revenue streams around self-driving cars as it nears its promised launch of a ride-sharing service in 2019. Under the pilot, Cruise’s self-driving Chevy Bolt vehicles will be used to make grocery and restaurant deliveries for DoorDash customers in San Francisco.

How to Build a Sustainable Organization in a Sharing Economy

Forbes – December 28, 2018

Sharing has been a fundamental human trait since our early days. From farmers who shared their crops to neighbors who lend their power tools, we have an innate desire to help each other. The sharing economy business model formalizes this desire and opens up new opportunities for engagement. That model runs counter to our current economy, which has been based purely on ownership. Consider those power tools: You buy them and own them forever. This transaction doesn’t take the efficiency of that ownership into account. Unless you’re a construction or carpentry pro, you may use the tools for three hours in a day and perhaps 15 days in an entire year. Even that optimistic assessment accounts for a small fraction of time. For the rest of the year, your reciprocating saw collects dust. The sharing economy model inverts that inefficiency. For instance, a network of home do-it-yourself enthusiasts communicating via a smartphone-based app could rent tools by the hour. This creates more capital for power tool owners and puts a wider range of tools at each person’s disposal. It also has the potential to create communities of people with a common interest. Companies considering sharing-economy models should put these and other societal benefits at the heart of their service proposition.

Five Predictions for the Gig Economy and Freelancing in 2019

Forbes – December 28, 2018

Recently, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics published a report on individuals in alternative work arrangements: 16.5 million people now make up with is known as the “gig economy.” And according to a Future Workforce Report from Upwork, 59% of U.S. companies are now using flexible work forces to some degree – remote workers and freelancers. These practices obviously save money and allow businesses to have leaner traditional work forces. So, what will 2019 bring for the “gig economy” and freelancing? Here are five trends that will certainly surface. Next year, when we look back on 2019, there may be trends that we did not anticipate but that were brought about by this rapidly changing workplace environment in which we are now living.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Self-Driving Cars in 2018

Curbed – December 27, 2018

Amidst stunning breakthroughs and tragic failures, for self-driving vehicles, 2018 was the year of yes, but… Yes, self-driving cars can save lives—but only if they’re programmed with all users of the street in mind. Yes, self-driving cars can reduce emissions—but only if they’re also electric. Yes, self-driving cars can fix congestion—but only if they’re shared. As autonomous vehicles (or AVs) moved from a startup prototype to an everyday reality, the questions raised by the industry’s triumphs—and several grave missteps—drove a new conversation about where cities want this technology to go. In 2018, some cities remained bullish on driverless tech. Some cities were no longer as welcoming. Here’s a recap.

7 Major Disadvantages of the Sharing Economy

Customer Think – December 27, 2018

Since the sharing economy launched in the mid-2000s, the traditional way of doing business has changed forever. This gig economy has changed the way that people give and receive services. Some critics have claimed that this new business model has caused traditional businesses to suffer over the years. The sharing economy has many advantages and disadvantages that most people should take into consideration. It has gained popularity over the years due to its convenience. As for its obvious flaws, there is still room for improvement. It is important for everyone to make note of these disadvantages of the sharing economy and decide when it is appropriate to use it.

Helena Taverns Offer Free Uber Rides to Prevent Drunken Driving

KPAX-TV – December 26, 2018

The Tri-County Licensed Beverage Association reports their DUI prevention efforts with mobile ride-sharing have succeeded well beyond expectations. “The Home Free Program” is a partnership between the beverage association and Uber that was developed in 2016. The program is currently in use at 11 taverns in the area, and since its inception, it has helped to keep 1,100 drunk drivers off Helena-area streets and highways. Tri-County Licensed Beverage Association President Bruce McCullough said Home Free is an easy way to take preventative steps to keep drunk drivers off roads and hopefully save lives. Each participating location has a dedicated device with a special Uber app on it. Bartenders just have to type in the home address for the person that needs it and then the driver is notified. The program doesn’t cost tavern patrons any money to use the service and money for the drivers are paid for through dues to Tri-County Licensed Beverage Association. The cost comes to around $17 per ride and each participating members pays $300 a year into a fund for the program.