One promise of ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft was fewer cars clogging city streets. But studies suggest the opposite: that ride-hailing companies are pulling riders off buses, subways, bicycles and their own feet and putting them in cars instead. And in what could be a new wrinkle, a service by Uber called Express Pool now is seen as directly competing with mass transit.
Driverless buses are not going to run on the roads any time soon, but if and when they do, Minnesotans seem keen on the idea. That’s what the Minnesota Department of Transportation found out when they asked for feedback from the 1,300 people who took a free ride in an autonomous electric-powered shuttle before the Super Bowl.
When you think of early adopters, you might think of someone who’s had a car2go car sharing membership since Day 1, and probably a Zipcar membership before that. But an early adopter could also be that person you know who’s been involved in rescuing puppies and kittens, well, before rescue was the thing. And in the Venn diagram of these two groups — early adopters or not — there’s certainly a lot of overlap.
The automotive industry has been heavily influenced by a few key technology trends that have the potential to change its current structure, ecosystem and value proposition. Increasingly, the industry is shifting away from the car-as-a-product to the car-as-a-service.
Uber has launched a new service that lowers ride-sharing costs for customers who are willing to walk to and from designated locations. Express Pool became available this week in several participating cities. Passengers must walk a short distance to a pickup intersection. They are then dropped off at another designated spot, close to their final destination. Customers appreciate the cost savings of normal ride-sharing, but many would like the benefits that come with having designated pickup and dropoff locations, according to Uber spokesperson Kaitlin Durkosh.
The train trip from home to work (in Zurich) is fast and time-efficient. But walking to and from the train station is not. What to do about this problem (which helps explain why so many commuters drive cars when there are public transit options readily available)? The sharing economy has recently conceived of a two-wheeled solution that is taking Zurich and many other cities by storm. Over the past year, a growing number of “dockless” bike-share start-ups have descended on cities across the globe to help urbanites ride those first and last miles in style.
Remember the emergence of Napster and Kazaa, and how they disrupted the music and entertainment industry? It’s happening again. I’m talking about the larger “sharing economy” for services that has emerged over the past few years. It’s a model of exchange that represents a new kind of “disintermediation.” That mouthful of syllables is nothing more than a fancy way to say “elimination of the middleman.”
Sony says it’s partnering with Daiwa Motor Transportation and five other local taxi companies in Japan to build a new taxi-hailing system to match drivers with riders via a mobile app, similar to how Uber and countless others manage their ride-sharing services. Sony, however, plans to use AI to better predict demand to dispatch taxis more efficiently, says Nikkei, by factoring in traffic, ride histories, weather, and local events.
Mobility Lab’s Transportation Techies brought tech lovers together last week at the Black Cat nightclub in Washington, D.C., to dig into the troves of data generated by the growing number of bikeshare companies in the capital and its surrounding communities. Among other show-and-tells, Bikeshare Hack Night VIII presenters showed their development of bikeshare user profiles, their creation of new ways to map and check bike availability, and the ways they figured out how to make real-time data even more available to planners, researchers, and app developers.
Look at some of the autonomous vehicle concepts, predicting a future of us being able to treat a car as a lounge or work area when we don’t want to actually drive, and you’ll notice one thing: space. By that, I mean the space they take up on the road. Everyone seems to be designing a large, autonomous SUV because that’s what people want. Mercedes-Benz is guilty of the same thing, with its vast F105 Concept it showed a few years ago. Sleek, spacious and lounge-like, it’s one idea for a self-driving future. But its tiny Smart division has other ideas