It’s official: the gig economy is taking over work as we know it. More than a third of the workforce — 55 million Americans — are currently working as freelancers. More and more people are realizing the many benefits of the gig economy — workers and companies alike. But the truth is that the sharing economy is nothing new. It’s the modern iteration of a centuries-old, wildly successful business model: franchising.
Uber is showing off its latest “flying car” concept at its second annual Elevate conference in Los Angeles. And, as you can see, it looks more like a drone than a helicopter. These aircraft will be electrically powered, and Uber says they’ll fly at an elevation of 1,000 to 2,000 feet. The company envisions thousands of its flying taxis shuttling passengers between rooftop “skyports” and landing sites in cities, each of which will be equipped to handle 200 takeoffs and landings every hour. The aircraft will be piloted by humans at first, but eventually will fly autonomously.
Toyota will expand its push into new mobility businesses such as ride-sharing by opening a new office in London tasked with finding technology-driven products and services tailored to the European market. The automaker will recruit 35 to 50 data scientists, engineers and software developers for the office which will be part of Toyota Connected (TC), which looks for commercial opportunities that exploit digital technology and customer data.
Today ride-sharing is a pretty simple concept that’s still catching on world wide. You need a ride, you use an app, you summon a car, it picks you up. There is another form of transportation that has really taken off as well and that’s bike sharing. Whether they’re blue bikes, yellow bikes or green bikes, most major cities across the country and many college towns have some kind of bike sharing company around. But there is something that lives in the space between and is starting to catch on big time on the east coast. That is, Zapp Ride Share.
Ride-hailing service Lyft and its technology parter Aptiv this week launched an autonomous taxi service in Las Vegas. Following a trial during the CES technology show in Vegas in January, the automated service is now available to the general public. Lyft customers can opt in to the service then hail the cars like they would a regular, human-driven vehicle.
People at the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus got a glimpse of the future on April 24 and 25, 2018 – when the French company Navya’s Autonom Shuttle, an 11-seat self-driving vehicle, picked up inquisitive commuters outside of Russell Laboratories and took them for a short ride covering parts of Elm, Linden, Babcock, and Observatory drives. This vehicle is driven by technology and a team of people constantly endeavoring to enhance it.
On Tesla’s Q1 2018 earnings call today, Tesla CEO Elon Musk shed some light on the company’s ambitions to launch an autonomous-vehicle ridesharing network. The short answer is that, from a technical standpoint, Tesla will be ready by the end of next year, Musk said. It’s not yet clear, however, when Tesla would actually launch the network. The longer answer involves discussion about regulation and the need to have full autonomy in place. That is, Level 4 or Level 5 autonomy that doesn’t require human intervention.
Dockless bike-share services attracted a lot of attention when they rolled out in U.S. cities last year, but they still have a long way to go before they overtake traditional, station-based systems in ridership. Dockless bikes made up 44 percent of all shared bikes on the street last year, but accounted for a mere 4 percent of the trips. In fact, the bikes in station-based systems are used five times as often as those in dockless systems.
In order to discover how blockchain technology can make transportation safer, more affordable, and more widely accessible, a new consortium of automakers formed the Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative (MOBI). Partners include: BMW, Bosch, Ford, General Motors, Renault, ZF, Aioi Nissay Dowa Insurance Services USA and others. The goal is to foster an ecosystem where businesses and consumers have security and sovereignty over their driving data, manage ride-share and car-share transactions, and store vehicle identity and usage information.
If you’re the guy in charge of leading Daimler—you know, the world’s largest luxury carmaker, one of Europe’s most important tech companies, and the inventor of the automobile—into a threatening future, it can’t hurt to have a name that sounds made for a superhero. Good thing it’s a guy named Wilko Stark helming CASE (that’s connectivity, autonomous, shared and services, and electric mobility), which Daimler launched in 2016 to address the most promising and troubling trends under one roof. He’s the fellow tasked with forging a 20-year blueprint for Daimler and its flagship, Mercedes-Benz. Between electrification, autonomy, car sharing, and ride hailing, the car industry is undergoing a monumental, unprecedented shift. So we sat down with Stark to hear about his plans for bringing Daimler into this future.