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Uber Technology Drives Into Portland

Uber technology and the company’s automobiles are making their way to Portland, OR. The company doesn’t have the best history with the city, but that won’t stop Portland from becoming the first U.S. market where Uber will push a set benchmarks for electrifying its fleet.

For the Portland version of Uber Electric, a program that the company rolled out to London last year, the ride-hailing company will team up with Drive Oregon, a partially state-funded nonprofit that seeks to get more electric vehicles on the road. With a combination of incentives and educational initiatives, Uber aims to make 10 percent of its Oregon fleet electric by 2019, statewide. Right now, the company says that 100 of the 6,000 active Portland Uber drivers use electric vehicles, so it has a lot of work to do.

To reach its 10 percent goal, Uber is pursuing a range of local collaborations. The company will work with Portland’s Black Parent Initiative to expand electric vehicle access to underserved communities, Cynergy E-Bikes to connect UberEATS couriers with electric bikes, and Arcimoto, an Oregon-based EV company. Uber is expected to use its auto-lease subsidiary Xchange Leasing to offer in-house deals to drivers wishing to get behind the wheel of an EV.

Uber stated about its mission in the city, “The City of Portland has also adopted some of the nation’s most aggressive measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Uber Electric will help Portland and the state of Oregon achieve these important clean energy goals.” Uber isn’t the only alternative transportation company going electric in Portland. Late last year, the city became the second market for BMW’s ReachNow, a Zipcar-like service with a focus on electric vehicles, and a previous initiative by Car2Go sprinkled electric smart cars onto its rainy streets all the way back in 2012.

In a world where a quarter of cars could drive themselves by 2030, Uber’s decision to take two years to recruit a few hundred EV drivers is more incremental than revolutionary. Still, it shows that the company is implementing both long and short-term strategies for rethinking transportation, even in the midst of one of the worst PR crises the tech industry has ever known.

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streaming technology

So there you are just driving along the road, you stop at a red light and look to your left and see…NO ONE DRIVING! Now I know, normally you’d be scared but technology is quickly making this a possible “norm of the future”.

Between Google, Uber, Tesla, and a host of other tech companies focusing on “the driver-less car,” this has begun to turn more into reality than science fiction. California, for example, has amendments to a bill before its legislative assembly that would essentially allow for the testing of cars without any driver present in the driver’s seat. And this could be conducted on actual roads!

Michigan’s state legislators introduced a bill that would also give the right to test cars without a safety driver present. Both bills limit the situations where these kinds of vehicles can operate. For instance, the bill in California specifies that pilot projects cannot have their autos exceeding 35mph. Also, only approved areas will be allowed for use during the testing phase. There’s also a provision that automobile manufacturers along with their suppliers will be held liable for any accidents that would result from these trials.

So far, every one of the 50 states require that a drive be operating a vehicle on a public road. In the case of Michigan, the bill actually represents a major economic opportunity and an option to keep car technology research and development within the state. Introducing these proposed amendments in California is also potentially going to increase Michigan’s process on the matter. Its bill already has support from Republican and Democratic legislative reps.

The bottom line is that this technology is no longer a thing of the future and state lawmakers are highly likely to give the “OK” to vehicles without human drivers!

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There will now be no more pop-ups asking you to agree to those harsh “2.1x” (or some other “x” amount) surge charges on the Uber app. Now, Uber will just tell you the price of your ride up front instead of doing all the math. Uber said in May that it was not doing away with surge pricing yet, it seems Uber is doing away with the feature. Uber pricing will still fluctuate with demand and time, but now you’ll know the dollar amount you’ll be paying for the ride before you enter the car so “no math and no surprises,” states Uber.

“Knowing how much a ride will cost in advance is clearly something riders appreciate: today uberPOOL accounts for over 20 percent of all rides globally,” stated a Uber user.

Of course, uberPOOL is less expensive, and it is also possible riders returned to Uber because of the cost savings on POOL. Not because Uber notified how much the fare actually was. But Uber’s financial team has been experimenting with the idea of offering the exact cost of the ride in select cities throughout the U.S. and India as of April and says it believes riders are more likely to take another Uber in the future if they see the trip price upfront, not just because POOL is cheaper. The new costs are calculated like the old “x” surge pricing so you might still end up paying a ridiculous sum in certain places or times of day where demand for a ride home is high. The surge fare is based on a variety of factors: expected time, distance, traffic, the number of riders requesting rides at that time and the number of drivers available nearby.

However, at least we will know exactly how much it will cost us to ride. And now Uber will even also allow either the driver or rider to update the app if you change your destination in the middle of the ride and an update with a change in price will appear. The price you agreed on will still be the price you pay. So no more worrying if you think your ber driver took a long way or is trying to rack up extra charges. Hence, there is no more lightning bolts and pop-up screens asking you to agree to “3x” surge. Just like with hotels and airfare, the prices change all the time, but you’ll know what the price is before you book, a good thing for our pockets.
Cities like Miami, San Diego, Seattle, New Jersey, New York and some of the bigger cities in India like Mumbai and Hyderabad – have all had the new price rollout system released. Uber hopes to take this system globally in the coming months.

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Supermarket mega chains Walmart and Sam’s Club are set to start testing grocery delivery, that uses services including Uber, Lyft, and Deliv to bring customer’s orders to their homes in speedy fashion. The announcement was made at Walmart’s annual shareholders week in Arkansas, after being announced at a similar pilot program in Miami in March. Walmart-owned Sam’s Club is using the service Deliv in order to test the delivery of general merchandise and groceries for its business members.

With the new program also involving transportation apps such as Uber and Lyft, Walmart customers will simply go to grocery.walmart.com, then request delivery at checkout for a small fee. The company is starting small were their tests, by going live in only Denver and Phoenix for the beta period. The company will test with UberX drivers. When placing their orders, customers have the opportunity to request as much as they would if they request curbside pickup. Specially trained Walmart Personal Shoppers will fill the orders, and are trained to select the best quality meat and produce. The shoppers also place everything in a temperature-controlled holding area in the back of the store.

Walmart contains 35,000 fresh groceries, dairy, meat, frozen foods, health and beauty products, baby items, and consumables available for purchase through their online grocery store. However, Walmart customers will be able to oder delivery instead of opting for curbside pickup (if they live in Denver or Phoenix). When a shopper selects home delivery, they’ll chose an appropriate time frame and pay a delivery fee of seven to 10 dollars. Walmart’s team will request a driver from Uber or Lyft to come using the regular mobile application. Drivers will be alerted that the orders are for grocery purposes, and has the option to decline the trip.

This is not Walmart’s first experiment with grocery delivery. The retailer has tried in both Denver and San Jose, California in the past, however did not choose to expand upon the programs. Tapping into Uber and Lyft gives Walmart the option for immediate success.

“Whatever you pay for apples or oranges or slice deli meat, is the exact same price as you’ll pay with us online,” says Ravi Jariwala, director of Public Relations at Walmart. “Part of pickup’s success has not only been saving time, but also saving money – you’re not paying more for the convenience…that’s the reason why grocery pickup has been so well-received by our customers.”

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We know that Uber has started to test self driving cars, but now they give cyclists an option to get home safely. No, they have not added the option to hail a bicycle, we can use citibike for that. Rather the transportation giant launched UberBike in Amsterdam Thursday, which guarantees a car with a bike rack, for a 4 euro charge. Amsterdam is a city with more bicycles than people, and Uber is hoping to cash in on the idea that lots of people cycle, but not everyone wants to ride everywhere they go, whether it be because they’re tired, its raining, or even if they are intoxicated.

“We are pretty certain that you have one parked in front of your house when you live in Amsterdam,” said Uber in a statement. “We also know for sure that sometimes you don’t feel like biking back home. Because it rains like crazy or you’re legs are simply too tired from all the dancing.”

Uber is a company that has been under fire recently, despite Uber’s private market valuation hitting $62.5 billion. At that price, it is the world’s most valuable startup, and worth more than GM, Ford, and Honda. However the company is not publicly traded at this time.

UberBike works like any other Uber service. Users in Amsterdam will be able to see the UberBike option next to the other programs such as Uber Black, UberXL, etc, and choose the option when selecting their pick up location. When the driver arrives, off the user goes with the bike attached to the back of the car. It is a simple program, and has already been similarly featured in São Paulo. Uber also had UberMoto in Bankok, and a feature for calling rickshaws in India called Uber Auto, however both programs were shut down after they launched. Users have to be careful when ordering an UberBike, as it only fits one bike on the rack.

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Transportation network company Uber Technologies, Inc. recently confirmed that they are testing self-driving cars in the Pittsburgh, PA area, according to an official report. Although it has already been released that Uber was looking into autonomous vehicle transportation, especially the consideration to open its Pittsburgh-based Advanced Technology Center in late 2015, this is the first time the company publicly released a statement about testing these vehicles.

Uber’s John Bares took a journalist on a ride in one of the company’s Ford Fusion hybrids, a car that drove itself for most of the trip. The car is surrounded with lasers and cameras, and has a roof filled with radar. The fusion is fully equipped with facilities that not only test how the real world would respond, but which record traffic data and road mapping information. The car sees as far as 100 meters in any direction, preventing the vehicle from crashing. Bares said that the city of Pittsburgh provides a perfect testing ground for autonomous vehicles because of the snowy and rainy weather, hilly and narrow streets, as well as the outdated infrastructure.

Uber is just one of a handful of companies, including Google, Ford, Lyft, and Volva, that joined the Self-Driving Coalition for Safer Streets, a group that lobbies to the government in order to draft legislation for autonomous vehicle addition to companies while keeping safety in mind. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said that it cold have possible legislation for self-driving cars complete as early as June.

That being said, Uber is a newcomer in the space, as Google has been testing self-driving cars on the streets of California since 2009. Bares confirmed that the Ubers being tested are at a very early stage, and to not expect a driverless Uber to pick you up anytime soon.

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technology_lincoln

On Demand Driver Technology? Lincoln Chauffeur Service Will Make You Feel Like A VIP

Automobile company, Lincoln, is testing a new service for owners of its vehicles that supply a driver on demand technology. The service is like an upscale version of Uber’s technology, in which you supply the car, and Lincoln supplies a professional driver. This driver is actually a Lincoln employee, not a spot contractor, and will drive you around and return your car to your home, basically make you feel like a VIP.

technology

The service will launch first in Miami and will let Lincoln owners order up a chauffeur via a smartphone app. The chauffeur will not only be able to drive you around, but will also return your car to your home in case others in the household need to use it, will fill it up if so required, and can even run light errands like picking up some groceries. Costs, as you might expect, are not cheap. During the pilot program, Lincoln Chauffeur will run around $30 per hour, which is actually not terrible compared to Uber until you remember you have to supply the car as well. On the plus side for Lincoln owners, they will get eight hours free of Chauffeur service included in the purchase price of their vehicle.

This is only a limited test at the moment, but Lincoln reported that it would like to expand the service to San Diego next, and then additional markets after that. It is likely a decent challenge to scale, since Lincoln’s actually employing the drivers it is using. Lincoln Chauffeur may be a bit of a departure from other mobility service offerings automakers are exploring, which include on-demand vehicle rentals and even white glove delivery of said cars to a renter’s door, but it still sounds like an interesting way to add value while driving new revenue sources in the luxury segment.

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technology_ride_sharing

How Will Autonomous Vehicle Sharing Technology Affect Cities?

New research from Arcadis, HR&A Advisors and Sam Schwartz Consulting offers advice for city planners who are considering a future that includes autonomous vehicle technology, or AVs. McKinsey (who was not part of this particular study) says that by 2030, autonomous vehicles will account for 15% of auto sales worldwide. The study released recently, “Driverless Future: A Policy Roadmap for City Leaders,” estimates that nearly 8 million people in its three sample cities will choose an AV over a traditional vehicle in the next 15 to 20 years. Those three sample cities were Los Angeles, Dallas, and New York and were selected for the extent of their of density, walkability, and usage of public transportation.

technology ride sharing

The research compared the cost of car ownership to speculated AV ridesharing and AV ridesourcing, and determined when people in those cities were likely to make the move from commuting in their own car to hailing a self-driving car. However, the study’s authors also point out that in order for AV to work, it has to work for everyone. They suggest things like using open data and universal apps so riders can compare prices, travel times, and environmental impact across modes of transportation, and pay using one app. To that extent, the authors also remind cities to keep in mind that not everyone has equal access to technology. People who do not have cell phones or bank accounts need to be able to access the transportation network, including autonomous rideshare or ridesource vehicles, through Dial-a-Ride and smartcard payment options.

It is also worth taking in mind now, as this kind of technology and service is growing worldwide, how to fund accessible services. For example, the study notes that in New York City, there is a 30-cent fee per taxi ride that supports the city’s expansion of wheelchair-accessible transportation options. Ridesourcing services like Uber and Lyft don’t pay that fee. There are potential drawbacks to having fleets of AVs wandering city streets, and the study is aware of these concerns. Mass adoption of AVs could encourage sprawl and increase the number of miles cars travel, and the system could develop in a way that leaves behind anyone without a cell phone and a checking account. AVs also could decrease public transit revenues, which could affect public transportation.

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autonomous technology trucking

Will Semi-Truck Autonomous Technology Soon Take Over The Roads?

Autonomous trucking startup Embark is unveiling its technology for the first time, showing off a competitor for Uber’s Otto that uses neural networks and deep learning to teach trucks how to drive on their own through their own processes of trial and error and practice. Embark’s trucks are approved to test on Nevada roads. The company’s technology is capable of handling potential obstacles like a slow car occupying the lane in front, and pass on undivided highways. According to Embark co-founder and CEO Alex Rodrigues, it can handle fog, darkness, and glare having learned to do so on its own.
For the time being, the technology Embark has created is not designed to replace human drivers altogether.

autonomous technology trucking

Rather, its intentions are to take over control on long stretches of relatively boring and straightforward driving, while also passing control to human drivers when it enters complex driving scenarios like those found in cities. The company’s foundation was based on the fact that there’s presently a truck driver shortage, and its technology can help add to the number of routes a human driver can handle by decreasing their actual time spent actively driving. Even though driving is, across categories, a huge employment category in the country, it is also true that most overland freight providers are also looking to add to their organization of capable drivers.

Rodrigues’ team at Embark includes SpaceX alumni, as well as people from Audi’s autonomous team. The startup also has funding from Maven Ventures, which also backed Cruise, the self-driving company GM acquired for $1 billion to help jump-start its own autonomous vehicle development efforts. There’s no specific schedule of deployment of the autonomous truck, but the company is ramping its engineering hiring aggressively and hopes also to build out its group of testing vehicles for its Nevada trials. With Uber’s Otto facing strong legal challenges from Alphabet’s Waymo, now might be exactly the right time for a new self-drive trucking startup to roll out.

technology gm lyft

GM And Lyft May Launch Autonomous Technology In Test Bolts In 2018

Technology has evolved and can now be seen in self-driving groups of vehicles may be sharing the roads with human drivers sooner than many of us predicted. Beginning in 2018, General Motors will field thousands of self-driving technology-based electric test vehicles, primarily based on the Chevy Bolt platform, Reuters reported. According to the report, the fleets of cars will mainly be used with partner Lyft for on-demand ride-hailing service technology.

technology gm lyft

This is much sooner than the anticipated 2020 date Ford and others have been aiming for large-scale deployment of self driving vehicle groups in similar ride-sharing functions. The report calls this a launch of “test fleets,” so these cars will still likely not be positioned as a commercial debut of a service, but it sounds like we may still see them in active service with customers, since Lyft is said to be planning to operate them in a test capacity in multiple states among its ride-sharing service fleet.

General Motors has said in the past that it intends to start piloting its self-driving vehicle technology in ride-sharing services “sooner than you might think.” The company has also been sharing periodic updates from GM-owned Cruise, which is actively testing autonomous Bolt EVs driving city streets in San Francisco, as well as in Arizona, with plans to expand to Michigan roads soon.

In the course of testing its Cruise fleet, General Motors has made use of a smartphone app that allows a user to choose a beginning and end point for the trip, and it’s very likely we’ll see similar technology used in any consumer-facing trials at a larger scale. In May of 2016, General Motors and Lyft previously discussed plans to begin testing self-driving taxi service on public roads “within a year.”

Lyft rival Uber also announced that Daimler would be the first automaker joining its so-called self-driving vehicle platform, which is open to all OEMs and will allow them to operate fleets of their own autonomous cars on Uber’s network for ride-hailing services. The tie-up between Lyft and General Motors has seemed a more exclusive arrangement, and it looks likely to stay that way at least through this test period, if this report is accurate.

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