Transportation

Will car-sharing and self-driving cars kill congestion? It’s not so simple

Will car-sharing and self-driving cars kill congestion? It’s not so simple

Car sharing and autonomous vehicles are widely expected to cut road congestion, but the future for drivers may not be so clear cut, according to two new studies released this week. The impact of alternatives to individual car ownership is still fairly uncertain, particularly as the long-term market viability of self-driving vehicles remains mired in legal, ethical, and technological questions, with the potential for traffic jams to initially get worse, not better.

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Mercedes-Benz Future Bus makes semi-automated trip on public roads

Mercedes-Benz Future Bus makes semi-automated trip on public roads

Mercedes-Benz’s Future Bus with CityPilot has started operating in a semi-automated fashion on public roads in the Netherlands, teasing a future in which buses and similar public transportation rely on autonomous technology to drive around. In this case, the bus has navigated across a Bus Rapid Transit route from the Netherlands’ Airport Line 300 ‘Schalkwijk Centrum’ bus stop into the city of Haarlem.

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Despite legal pushback, Uber hits 2 billion rides milestone

Despite legal pushback, Uber hits 2 billion rides milestone

This past December 31, Uber announced that it had given its one billionth ride, a huge milestone for the ridesharing company. Now, a mere six or so months since that announcement, it has hit another major milestone — it has given its two billionth ride, a doubling of its transportation numbers in a half year. The company’s CEO Travis Kalanick revealed the news on Facebook today.

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SpaceX Hyperloop pod competition delayed until 2017

SpaceX Hyperloop pod competition delayed until 2017

As testing on Hyperloop, SpaceX's high-tech, high-speed transportation system of the future, progresses, the Elon Musk-founded company has announced a delay in the ongoing competition for the design of the pod vehicles. The contest was originally scheduled to be held later this summer, but will now take place in January 2017, giving the participated teams more time to work on their designs.

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Lyft Premier option sends drivers in classy high-end cars

Lyft Premier option sends drivers in classy high-end cars

Lyft has announced a new ‘Premier’ option that allows customers to order a high-end car for those times they want to make an impression. Cars arriving under Lyft Premier include things like an Audi A6 and a BMW 5 Series, though its rollout is pretty limited at this point: only Los Angeles, the Bay area and New York City users will see the Premier option. Uber has long offered a similar service called Uber Black.

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Rolls-Royce’s autonomous ship control center is crazy futuristic

Rolls-Royce’s autonomous ship control center is crazy futuristic

It’s no secret that Rolls-Royce is working on autonomous ships for commercial use (read: self-operating cargo ships) — we heard about them years ago, and work on them has been relatively quiet since. That changed this month, with Rolls-Royce detailing what it envisions the future will hold in this regard; there will be the autonomous ships themselves, of course, but also control centers where the ships are monitored and controlled. If the company’s concept video and photos are anything to go by, these control centers will be insanely futuristic.

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Sweden launches test strip of electrified highway

Sweden launches test strip of electrified highway

Sweden has launched its first electric highway, something that is serving as a test of sorts for a potential wider rollout later on. This is part of the nation’s stated goal of ditching fossil fuel-based transportation in the future, making it possible for electric trucks to operate across a two kilometer stretch of freeway. The electric highway features electrified cables running overhead; electric trucks connected to them get their power through the lines, eliminating worries about batteries and range while curbing pollution and more.

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Ohio capital wins ‘smart city’ award, details self-driving plans

Ohio capital wins ‘smart city’ award, details self-driving plans

Ohio’s capital Columbus has won the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Smart City competition, and as such will get $40 million in federal funds and another $10 million from the company Vulcan. The city has detailed its plans for the money, saying the combined $50 million will be used alongside locally raised funds to, among other things, connect the impoverished community Linden with a nearby job center using self-driving vehicles.

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Olli self-driving bus uses IBM Watson, is live in Washington DC

Olli self-driving bus uses IBM Watson, is live in Washington DC

Local Motors has taken the wraps off a new self-driving bus named Olli. The bus is said to be the first autonomous one of its kind to use IBM’s Watson technology, and it is currently on the road in Washington D.C. Local Motors introduced the bus this morning at the Grand Opening of its new facility in National Harbor, Maryland; soon enough, we’ll see the bus in operation in Las Vegas and Miami-Dade county, as well.

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Uber partners with Capital One to offer free ride rewards

Uber partners with Capital One to offer free ride rewards

Uber has teamed up with Capital One to give some of their mutual customers the opportunity to earn free rides. The new partnership concerns the Capital One Quicksilver and QuicksilverOne card; when used to pay for Uber rides, those payments will earn rewards that eventually lead to a free ride (up to a certain value). Reward tracking is made available directly within the Uber mobile app.

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Uber is rolling out a Scheduled Rides feature

Uber is rolling out a Scheduled Rides feature

Uber’s great except for those times you can’t seem to get a driver. It may not be a big deal if you’re looking for a quick trip across the neighborhood, but if you’ve got a flight to get to, ensuring you can get a car is imperative. Enter one of Uber’s most-requested features: Scheduled Rides. The service has made the feature live in Seattle as of today, and plans to roll it out to other cities around the globe.

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London subway turns to Twitter for service disruption notifications

London subway turns to Twitter for service disruption notifications

When you depend on public transportation to get you to work and other important places, it can cause serious issues when it's late. If you're waiting for a bus or a train that's running late, you usually don't even know that it's going to be late until the time passes. Transport for London (who manages the city's subway system) understands this issue all too well, and is turning to Twitter to help.

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