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Archive for the ‘Ride-Sharing’ Category

Uber Makes Jump to Electric Bikes

Ride-sharing company pushes toward elimination of drivers.

by on Apr.10, 2018

Uber acquire bike-sharing company Jump, which offers electric bikes for users.

With Uber’s latest acquisition, the odds of any company executive getting into an argument with the driver is unlikely as the company has acquired bike-sharing service Jump. Terms of the deal were not released.

Jump is a “dockless” bike, which means users can leave them in any bike stand – as opposed to a branded stand – and they’ll be disabled until the next user comes along to rent it. The rider gets a code on their smartphone to activate the bike.

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The move pushes Uber closer to its goal of reducing car ownership, according to CEO Dara Khosrowshahi in a blog post. (more…)

NY Auto Show’s Dozen Best

Our favorites from an extensive assortment of cars, trucks, crossovers and concepts.

by on Apr.02, 2018

The turnstiles are spinning at the Javits Convention Center and for good reason. The 2018 New York International Auto Show is winning raves as the year’s most significant North American event, with dozens of significant debuts.

This year’s NAIAS covered plenty of ground: from long-range electric vehicles to high-powered performance cars – even some high-performance electric vehicles. Followers of automotive design will have plenty to talk about, too. The show underscores all the dramatic changes sweeping through the auto industry, even on the retail side, as more manufacturers announce new subscription programs.

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Whether you’re heading down to the show or simply trying to check out from a distance the most significant, intriguing and unusual cars, trucks, crossovers and concepts on display, here’s a handy guide to our dozen favorites.

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BMW and Mercedes-Benz Will Merge Their Mobility Services Operations

Goal is “seamless mobility from Point A to B” whether you’re driving, taking a train, even riding a bike.

by on Mar.28, 2018

A mobility enterprises, like Daimler's alliance with the Car2Go car-sharing service, are going to partner with BMW.

In what is being described as a “historic” move, traditional arch-rivals BMW and Mercedes-Benz have announced plans to merge their many and varied mobility services operations in a bid to make it easier to get “from Point A to B seamlessly,” no matter what form of transportation you use.

The two German automakers are already big players in the emerging field of mobility services, among other things partnering with taxi fleets and parking structures while operating both car- and ride-sharing services in a number of cities around the world. The new joint venture will also work with mass transit systems and even with the public bicycle services popping up in many urban areas.

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“Our goal is to provide mobility services at levels so far unheard of,” said Peter Schwarzenbauer, the BMW AG board member who helped negotiate the alliance. (more…)

Volvo Supplier Says Uber Disconnected Tech That Would’ve Saved Pedestrian

Aptiv claims Uber disconnected collision-mitigation system standard in Volvo ute.

by on Mar.27, 2018

The Tempe (Arizona) Police Department released the video footage of Uber's collision with a pedestrian.

Uber disconnected the safety system already installed in the Volvo XC90 that would have prevented the fatal crash in Arizona March 18, to test its own system with catastrophic results, according to a supplier for Volvo’s system.

Aptiv Plc told Bloomberg News that it wants to make sure there is no confusion about what safety systems were in place during the collision earlier this month. Aptiv, which works with Mobileye, to produce Volvo’s collision mitigation system says it doesn’t want its equipment or reputation to be impacted by the incident.

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“We don’t want people to be confused or think it was a failure of the technology that we supply for Volvo, because that’s not the case,” Zach Peterson, a spokesman for Aptiv told Bloomberg. The Volvo XC90’s standard advanced driver-assistance system “has nothing to do” with the Uber test vehicle’s autonomous driving system, he said. (more…)

Governor Suspends Uber Autonomous Testing in Arizona

Move follows fatal crash and questions about service’s self-driving technology.

by on Mar.27, 2018

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey ordered the suspension of Uber's autonomous testing program.

In the wake of a fatal crash earlier this month, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey has suspended the permit allowing ride-sharing service Uber to test self-driving vehicles on the state’s public roads.

The move comes as state and public regulators try to find out why a Volvo SUV modified by Uber to drive with only a backup “operator” slammed into a 49-year-old pedestrian crossing a four-lane road on the evening of March 18 without even slowing or trying to swerve out of the way. The incident has raised broader concerns about autonomous technology – but also questions Arizona’s relatively laissez faire approach to testing such vehicles on public roads.

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“In the best interests of the people of my state, I have directed the Arizona Department of Transportation to suspend Uber’s ability to test and operate autonomous vehicles on Arizona’s public roadways,” Ducey announced. (more…)

Waymo’s Krafcik Joins Industry Chorus Questioning Uber’s Techonology

Concerns about faulty tech growing inside and out of industry.

by on Mar.26, 2018

Waymo CEO John Krafcik told a crowd at NADA that its autonomous vehicle would have not hit Elaine Herzberg.

A self-driving Uber’s fatal collision with a pedestrian in Arizona is inviting scrutiny and criticism of the company’s technological capabilities from safety advocates, industry experts and the company’s direct competition: Waymo.

“We have a lot of confidence that our technology would be robust and would be able to handle situations like that one,” said Waymo Chief Executive Officer John Krafcik last weekend.

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On March 18, Elaine Herzberg, 49, was struck by Uber’s Volvo XC90 as she walked her bicycle across a four-lane boulevard. The vehicle never attempted to stop or move to avoid her. The vehicle’s safety driver, Rafaela Vasquez, 44, was looking down at the time and didn’t see Herzberg until it was too late to act. (more…)

Uber Fatality Investigation Produces More Questions Than Answers

NTSB, NHTSA assisting in accident query.

by on Mar.22, 2018

The Tempe (Arizona) Police Department released the video footage of Uber's collision with a pedestrian.

The video chronicling the fatal accident between an Uber vehicle in autonomous test mode and a woman crossing a street with her bike has opened up a Pandora’s Box of questions for the ride-sharing giant and other companies looking to develop self-driving vehicles.

The first is, of course, how did the system not recognize her and take action to avoid the problem? The vehicle’s system had plenty of time to take action, but did nothing, eventually running over Elaine Herzberg, as she walked her bike across four lanes of traffic at night in Tempe, Arizona.

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“The video is disturbing and heartbreaking to watch, and our thoughts continue to be with Elaine’s loved ones,” Uber said in a statement. “Our cars remain grounded, and we’re assisting local, state and federal authorities in any way we can.” (more…)

New Senior Personnel Departures at Ford Comes at Awkward Time

Key players in smart mobility push leave company even as Ford ramps up autonomous, electrification programs.

by on Mar.22, 2018

Musa Tariq, Ford's chief brand officer was hired away from Apple just 14 months ago.

Ford Motor Co. has been hit with another round of senior level departures, a development that not only continues the turmoil touched off by the ouster of CEO CEO Mark Fields last May but threatens to shake up the carmaker’s push into advanced mobility services.

Musa Tariq, the chief brand officer Ford lured away from Apple just 14 months ago, will be leaving the company, Ford has confirmed. And he’s not alone. Raj Rao, the CEO of Ford Smart Mobility, will also depart the automaker on May 1st.

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“Musa is a proven leader of brand transformation, having led similar work at some of the world’s most admired brands before coming to Ford, and he is a leader known for creativity and social media expertise,” said Ford CEO Jim Hackett. “Over the last year, he has been helping to drive the same transformation at Ford.”

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Toyota Will “Pause” Testing of Autonomous Vehicles on Public Roads

Hyundai adding “caution” to its program; Boston mayor wants autonomous tests halted in city.

by on Mar.20, 2018

In light to Uber's autonomous vehicle killing a pedestrian, other companies are revisiting their testing plans and procedures.

Reaction has been quick in the wake of a fatal Phoenix crash involving a prototype autonomous vehicle operated by ride-sharing service Uber, at least one major automaker saying it will temporarily “pause” testing of its own self-driving vehicles on public roads.

Though police in the suburb of Tempe say preliminary evidence indicates the Uber-modified Volvo SUV was not at fault in the death of a pedestrian Sunday night, the incident has raised flags that could slow the race to put self-driving technology on the road.

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While Toyota issued a statement noting that it “cannot speculate on the cause of the incident or what it may mean to the automated driving industry going forward,” the automaker added in a statement that, “Because we feel the incident may have an emotional effect on our test drivers, we have decided to temporarily pause our Chauffeur mode testing on public roads.” (more…)

Teamsters Highlight Safety Problems with Autonomous Testing

Pedestrian death highlights gaps in safety, union says.

by on Mar.20, 2018

The Teamsters have been concerned about the impact that autonomous trucks will have on its membership.

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters re-iterated its concerns with the ongoing testing and implementation of self-driving technology after an Uber test vehicle in autonomous mode struck and killed a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona.

The union has been instrumental in the ongoing fight about proposed legislation making it easier to put self-driving cars on public roads.

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The sparring has become a struggle between some biggest car and technology companies in the world against not only the Teamsters but also consumer and safety advocates who argue that the driverless are not yet roadworthy. (more…)