Archive for the ‘Ride-Sharing’ Category

EZ-Ultimo: A Design Bruce Wayne, aka Batman, Could Enjoy

Autonomous ride-sharing concept would target only the most elite customers.

by on Oct.04, 2018

Renault designers must have been given the freedom to indulge themselves with the EZ-Ultimo concept shown in Paris.

Only the French could have gone to market with vehicles like the DS9 and the 2CV – the deux chevaux, as it was better known. And only the French could have rolled out some of the wild and crazy concepts that populated this year’s Paris Motor Show.

As the media days wrap up, the public will be treated to the retro-futuristic Peugeot e-Legend concept, as well as the DS E-Tense, an electric supercar. But easily one of the most talked-about cars at an otherwise light Paris show was also one of the strangest, Renault’s EZ-Ultimo, which has alternately been compared to the Batmobile and “a rolling palace.”

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But the best way to think about this fully driverless prototype is the marriage of a personal jet and a ride-share vehicle – one that is completely autonomous. (more…)

Flying Cars Zooming Toward Takeoff

Pal-V, Terrafugia, Uber, Google all readying flying autos.

by on Oct.02, 2018

A convoy of Pal-V Liberty flying cars makes their way through the countryside.

A Dutch company called Pal-V said it had started taking orders for its Liberty model, a three-wheeled car which sprouts a tail-plane, a propeller and helicopter-like rotor blades when the driver wants to fly.

Before it takes off, the wings and propellers are folded up, against the bodywork so it can maneuver on city streets.

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The Times of London, in its report on the Liberty, noted that entrepreneurs have long promised that flying cars are hovering just around the corner. (more…)

Mercedes’ Future Comes Alive With Vision Urbanetic

New vehicle is Mercedes' glimpse into future mobility.

by on Sep.10, 2018

Mercedes-Benz unveiled its Vision Urbanetic concept. Shown here as a people mover, it's the company's take on future mobility.

Mercedes-Benz looked into the future to find ways to move people and things efficiently and quietly around cities and developed the Vision Urbanetic concept, which uses an electric powertrain and configurable bodies to do exactly that.

The result is a self-driving, electrically powered chassis that can take different switchable bodies for people moving or goods transport. As a ride-sharing vehicle, Vision Urbanetic can accommodate up to 12 passengers, while the cargo module can carry up to ten EPAL pallets.

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The interior cargo space is about 12.5 feet long while the entire vehicle is nearly 17 feet long. The vehicle can be incorporated into an IT infrastructure that analyzes in real time the supply and demand within a defined area.  (more…)

Why Fly? Self-Driving Volvo 360c Offers Alternative for Long-Distance Travel

Autonomous, electric, the concept will let travelers do “what they want to do.”

by on Sep.05, 2018

The Volvo 360c Concept is designed to let an owner travel in Business Jet-style comfort.

Flying is glamorous, or so the airlines would have you believe, but ask anyone who has had to deal with security lines, crowded cabins and inevitable delays and you’ll get an entirely different picture.

That’s where something like the Volvo 360c might offer a pleasant alternative. While the industry has focused on using driverless vehicles to replace conventional taxicabs, the self-driving concept from Volvo has long-distance travelers in mind. Billed as “the future of autonomous travel,” the 360c is designed to skip the lines and deliver the sort of experience you might expect flying on a private jet.

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“Domestic air travel sounds great when you buy your ticket, but it really isn’t,” said Mårten Levenstam, senior vice president of corporate strategy at Volvo Cars, adding that “The 360c represents what could be a whole new take on the industry.”

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FCA Upgrades Proving Grounds for Self-Driving Vehicle Testing

Late to the game, FCA races to make up lost time with $30 mil project.

by on Sep.05, 2018

A Waymo-modified Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has invested $30 million to upgrade its sprawling Chelsea Proving Grounds, an hour west of Detroit to expand its ability to develop and test both autonomous vehicles advanced driver assist system technologies.

The automaker has been slow to embrace self-driving vehicle technology, though it has been able to leapfrog some of its competitors with an expanding tie-up with Waymo, the self-driving spin-off of Google. The new project will allow FCA to test technology from Waymo and other potential partners, as well as systems it may develop in-house.

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“The all-new facility at Chelsea Proving Grounds will help support and enable the successful rollout of the company’s five-year plan laid out earlier this year,” said Mike Manley, who took over as FCA’s CEO just two months ago. “Our ability to test for autonomous and advanced safety technologies enables FCA to offer our customers the features they want across our brand portfolio.”

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Toyota Investing $500 Mil in Uber, Will Aid in Autonomous Vehicle Efforts

Move could help ride-sharing service in anticipated IPO plan.

by on Aug.28, 2018

Dara Khosrowshahi, Uber’s CEO and Toyota EVP Shigeki Tomoyama shake over their new alliance.

Toyota confirmed  reports it will invest $500 million in Uber and partner with the nation’s largest ride-sharing service on the development of the autonomous and fully driverless vehicles Uber believes will slash its costs and make it a viable alternative to personal vehicle ownership.

The announcement comes barely a week after Uber wrapped up its search for a new chief financial officer, something that, along with the new Toyota alliance, could help move closer to a widely anticipated IPO. The Japanese maker’s investment puts a value of $72 million on Uber.

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“This agreement and investment marks an important milestone in our transformation to a mobility company,” said Shigeki Tomoyama, executive vice president, TMC, and president, Toyota Connected Company. “Combining efforts with Uber, one of the predominant global ride-sharing and automated driving R&D companies, could further advance future mobility.”

(more…)

Kroger Launches Driverless Delivery Pilot in Scottsdale

Debut echoes Waymo/Walmart partnership.

by on Aug.16, 2018

The Kroger project won't completely solve the "last mile" challenge. Customers still will have to go out and grab their bags from the delivery vehicle.

While it may take some time before you can hail a driverless ride-sharing vehicle, you may soon be able to have your groceries delivered autonomously – at least if you live in certain parts of greater Phoenix.

Kroger has teamed up with Nuro, a self-driving tech firm to launch a trial grocery delivery program in one part of the Southwest community, and could roll it out to other parts of the country if it proves successful. The move comes shortly after rival Walmart announced a similar pilot program pairing it with Google’s autonomous vehicle spin-off Waymo.

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“Kroger wants to bring more customers the convenience of affordable grocery delivery,” Kroger Chief Digital Officer Yael Cosset said in a statement.

(more…)

Cybersecurity Efforts Critical to Automotive Industry

Car companies focused on ensuring safety of self-driving cars.

by on Aug.06, 2018

GM President Dan Ammann said recently that the company's focus on cybersecurity is critical to its long-term goals.

The operation of self-driving vehicles will require an intense focus on cybersecurity, experts said during a conference in Detroit organized by Billington Cybersecurity, which brought together representatives from the automobile and tech industry as well as the government.

Dan Ammann, General Motors president, told the conference that GM cybersecurity is one of “the key enablers” to making GM’s vision of “zero crashes, zero emission and zero congestion” a reality.

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“As we continue to develop our Autonomous Vehicle program, safety is paramount, just like it is in everything that we do,” Ammann said. “For our customers, that means providing the safest products possible, including the strongest cybersecurity.” (more…)

Rental Car Business Being Squeezed by Ride Sharing

Autonomous vehicles present major change in prices.

by on Jul.31, 2018

Fully driverless vehicles, like the ones Ford plans to build for Lyft, may be the death knelll for some rental car companies.

The rental-car business faces a growing threat to its future from ride-sharing companies, according to a new survey from AlixPartners.

“Results from our survey suggest that the $30-billion U.S. car-rental industry is already undergoing a tectonic shift, with boundaries not just blurring but being obliterated between car-rental and ride-hailing and other forms of new mobility,” said Arun Kumar, a director in the Automotive and Industrial Practice at AlixPartners and a co-author of a new report focusing on the rental-car business.

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“The companies that survive this shift will be those that act now to transform themselves to be relevant in a world which seems to much prefer simply clicking on an app than standing in line at the rental counter,” Kumar said. (more…)

Uber Shuts Down Otto Autonomous Truck Division

Ride-sharing service puts emphasis on self-driving cars.

by on Jul.31, 2018

An autonomous Otto truck like the one that hauled 45,000 cans of beer across Colorado last year.

Just a week after it restarted its autonomous passenger car program, Uber has shuttered Otto, the division that was charged with developing self-driving trucks.

The ride-sharing company says it wants to concentrate on developing the driverless cars and SUVs that could eventually lower the cost of using its services. But the decision to shelf Otto comes as Uber struggles with a series of setbacks, including not only the death of a pedestrian hit by one of its self-driving prototypes but also a legal battle with Google spinoff Waymo that saw a key employee accused of stealing critical intellectual property.

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“We recently took the important step of returning to public roads in Pittsburgh,” Eric Meyhofer, head of Uber Advanced Technologies Group, said in a statement referencing the company’s decision to restart its self-driving program after the fatal crash near Phoenix back in March. “As we look to continue that momentum, we believe having our entire team’s energy and expertise focused on (the passenger car) effort is the best path forward.” (more…)