On the same day that Ford officially ousted its chief executive in a bid to remake itself as future-focused vehicle manufacturer, Toyota announced its own steps to embrace technology’s next wave. Together with MIT’s Media Lab, Toyota has enlisted a series of partners that specialize in different aspects of blockchain technology (the distributed, encrypted ledger technology that powers the cryptocurrency bitcoin) to explore how the technology may be applied to the car industry.
So often, when new technologies arise — whether it’s self-driving cars, or the ability to turn on and off lights from your phone — we forget that there is a group of people who would like to use these innovations not just to make life easier, but to actually enable them to do something they have no other way of doing.
Out of an airy Lyft office in East Austin marked by a bright pink tent, a steady stream of new and returning drivers filed in Thursday to sign up, following new Texas legislation passed Wednesday that knocks out Austin’s ride-hailing regulations.
TaskRabbit performs tasks like assembling furniture and washing dogs in nearly 30 cities in the U.S. and the U.K. The company is now announcing that it is expanding to 20 new cities including Detroit, Raleigh-Durham and Nashville next week. TaskRabbit’s CEO, Stacy Brown-Philpot, joins “CBS This Morning” to discuss her company, being a female CEO in the tech industry and address concerns about the unstable nature of working in the “gig economy.”
For city mayors, dealing with the rise of gig economy startups has often felt like a game of whack-a-mole. Get a handle on how to regulate one company’s operations, and suddenly another appears. That dynamic is finally changing–and for the better, says Alicia Glen, New York City’s deputy mayor for housing and economic development. “This is not about any one digital company,” she tells Fast Company. “When we started, it was a very company-by-company exercise. Now it’s clear to me that it’s more sector-by-sector.”
The crackdown on Airbnb has had a ripple effect in the service economies of the places it’s located. Even the rule-breakers are now largely operating in stealth mode, hosting less frequently—and, when they do host, they may be less inclined to hire a third-party cleaning service.
Uber is updating its Android app today to begin showing departure times for busses and trains that are nearby where a passenger is getting dropped off. The intention seems to be making Uber seem like a more viable option for taking commuters and other travelers the so-called last mile from where they’re dropped off by public transit to where they actually need to go.
BMW’s car-sharing service, ReachNow, today unveiled the first of more than 100 “Light and Charge” electric vehicle chargers coming to Seattle. The technology, developed by BMW, turns street lamps and light poles in parking lots into electric vehicle chargers. Twenty charging stations will hold the 100 chargers throughout Seattle, the first North American city to get BMW’s public Light and Charge program.
San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee wants to do something to avoid annoying traffic situations caused by waiting ride-share vehicles, but he can’t do it without cooperation from the on-demand ride service companies themselves. In exchange for Uber and Lyft providing the city with data describing where their cars drive, the mayor said, he will propose a pilot program that may develop ways to make pick-ups and drop-offs smoother.
Waymo, the self-driving car unit that operates under Google’s parent company, has signed a deal with the ride-hailing start-up Lyft, according to two people familiar with the agreement who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly. The deal calls for the companies to work together to bring autonomous vehicle technology into the mainstream through pilot projects and product development efforts, these people said.