Transportation

Uber’s getting into the long-haul trucking business

Uber’s getting into the long-haul trucking business

Uber is getting into the long-haul trucking business, expanding its focus beyond mere consumer ridesharing (and possible future VTOL flights). The company recently acquired Otto, a trucking startup with self-driving ambitions, and now it is working on establishing partnerships with truck drivers and more. Per statements made recently by Otto co-founder Lior Ron, the Otto fleet is being expanded from six trucks to 15 or so, with the trucks being slated to hit the road starting next year.

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Uber may offer short VTOL flights in big cities in the future

Uber may offer short VTOL flights in big cities in the future

For now, hailing an Uber ride means waiting for a human driver to show up in a car. In the relatively near future, we expect it’ll mean an autonomous car showing up. In the somewhat more distant future, it could include a different option entirely: a short duration autonomous flight from one place to another. Such a reality was recently discussed by Uber’s Jeff Holden, who said the company is looking into so-called VTOL technology — that is, vertical takeoff and landing vehicles.

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Uber rolls out security selfies in US for driver authentication

Uber rolls out security selfies in US for driver authentication

Uber has taken another step toward addressing safety concerns voiced by critics, doing so by starting a rollout of security selfies in the United States. With these selfies, an Uber driver takes a selfie using their phone before they can go online in the Uber system, which users the selfie to determine whether the driver matches the account owner's photo on file. By doing so, it serves as an authentication of sorts that the driver is who he or she is supposed to be.

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Germany will soon have a quieter, hydrogen-powered train

Germany will soon have a quieter, hydrogen-powered train

“Environment-friendly trains” is probably a bit of an oxymoron, unless you’re talking about electric-powered ones. Ever since their first incarnations, trains have been synonymous not just with the consumption of massive amounts of diesel but also of CO2 emission. But as they are an integral part of public transportation, especially in European countries, they can’t be simply removed. In Germany, however, a solution is already being tested in the form of the Coradia iLint, billed as the world’s first clean and green train fit for public use.

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Uber in New York City gets ride scheduling

Uber in New York City gets ride scheduling

Uber is great if you need to catch a ride somewhere, but lacks when you have to catch a ride at a specific time — if no drivers are close by, you’ll be forced to wait however long until a driver swings by. To help deal with that issue comes a scheduled rides feature for those located in New York City. With it, you can schedule a ride ahead of time to ensure there’s a car ready to pick you up right when you need it. This is part of the feature announced in June, which already went live in Seattle and many other places.

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Car-sharing outfit Zipcar expands into bike-sharing

Car-sharing outfit Zipcar expands into bike-sharing

Long before Uber was ruling the streets, the idea of car-sharing was associated with companies like Zipcar, the service where users can pay to use a car just when they need it, and then park it for someone else to take. Now Zipcar is looking to apply that same model to bicycles, and has announced a new partnership with Zagster where they will bring a new bike-sharing service to 15 college campuses in the US.

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Ford acquires Chariot as part of smart city transportation plans

Ford acquires Chariot as part of smart city transportation plans

Ford Smart Mobility LLC is acquiring San Francisco-based crowdsourced shuttle service “Chariot,” the company has announced. With it, Ford anticipates it will be able to offer an “affordable and convenient transportation” option to people in five or more markets starting a year-and-a-half from now. In addition, Ford is also aiming to provide San Franciscans with more transportation options via its Ford GoBike bike-sharing service offered in collaboration with Motivate.

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Google Maps adds Lyft and Gett as ride service options

Google Maps adds Lyft and Gett as ride service options

Back in March, Google added a ride services section to Google Maps that presents various ride services with how soon you could take them and about how much they’d cost. The idea is that you probably don’t have time to toggle between a bunch of different apps to figure out which transportation method is the fastest — using this ride services tab, you can see in one glance whether it would, for example be faster to take an Uber car or a taxi; or, alternatively, whether one option would be cheaper than another. In a statement today, Google announced it has updated that ride services integration with two new companies.

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Waze sources say app is being transformed into ridesharing service

Waze sources say app is being transformed into ridesharing service

Google began testing a ridesharing feature in Waze with a limited number of people in San Francisco earlier this year, and now sources say it will soon expand the feature to cover everyone in the city, not just the employees of certain companies. This expansion itself will reportedly be a test that may lead to an even larger expansion, something that would directly encroach upon Uber and other similar services. There will be some big differences between how the two operate, though, including low rates that discourage commuters from acting like taxis.

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Amtrak unveils next-gen high-speed trains slated for 2021 launch

Amtrak unveils next-gen high-speed trains slated for 2021 launch

Amtrak has taken the wraps off its next-generation high-speed trains, saying it plans to launch them in 2021. The trains will be an upgrade to the Acela Express fleet in the Northeast Corridor (NEC), the same region where it will be upgrading infrastructure as part of a larger 'modernization' program. The step is a necessary one to keep the (often criticized) company relevant and useful.

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UberEats London drivers protest as gig economy sours

UberEats London drivers protest as gig economy sours

Uber has another issue on its hands, this time involving a planned protest by UberEats drivers in London who are upset about a pay cut. Pay has been a contentious issue among Uber workers all over the world, with many arguing that after things like taxes, fuel costs, and maintenance, they make near or less than minimum wage. That's the same issue inspiring this latest protest, with drivers saying they may make less than minimum wage due to the pay cut.

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Lyft reported to have failed to find buyer in Apple, Uber, GM, others

Lyft reported to have failed to find buyer in Apple, Uber, GM, others

Just a week ago it was reported that Lyft, the US's second largest ride-hailing company, turned down an acquisition offer from investor General Motors. But new details from the New York Times say that Lyft has actually been looking for a buyer for several months now, holding discussions with a number of companies, including Apple, Amazon, Google, GM, China's Didi Chuxing, and even main rival Uber, but failing to make any deals.

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