Transportation

Uber ‘Compliments’ let riders tell drivers thank you

Uber ‘Compliments’ let riders tell drivers thank you

Uber has introduced a new in-app feature that seems a bit pointless, but that'll probably appeal to shy riders: a way to ping the trip's driver with a thank-you for a job well done. When a rider chooses to use this feature, the driver will receive a notification on their phone letting them know the rider was pleased...and, if nothing else, it'll take a load off their mind about what kind of rating the rider gave them.

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Boom Technology XB-1 Supersonic Demonstrator subscale prototype debuts

Boom Technology XB-1 Supersonic Demonstrator subscale prototype debuts

A company called Boom Technology has debuted a subscale prototype of what it thinks will be the future of commercial passenger aviation. The subscale prototype is of a supersonic passenger jet called the XB-1 and nicknamed "Baby Boom." The aircraft as unveiled this week at a VIP event for airline and aerospace executives and media. Boom says that the XB-1 is the world's fastest civil aircraft and will demonstrate key technologies for affordable supersonic travel.

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Uber has overhauled its app: three key differences

Uber has overhauled its app: three key differences

Uber has rebuilt its mobile app, making it cleaner and easier to use in comparison to the previous version. This update was necessary, says Uber, as the app had ‘become complicated and harder to navigate’ since the last big overhaul in 2012. By remaking it from the ground up, the app is now faster and, says the company, smarter — it can learn your routines if you’re a frequent rider, and pretty soon it’ll be able to tap your mobile’s calendar, too.

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GM-owned car-sharing service Maven comes to Los Angeles

GM-owned car-sharing service Maven comes to Los Angeles

Services like Uber and Lyft may be dominating the ride-hailing market, but there's still a growing number of options for those who don't own cars but need to use one on occasion. One such is Maven, the car-sharing service owned by General Motors, which has just announced an expansion into another major US city: Los Angeles. Maven just recently rolled into San Francisco, making this its second California market.

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Lyft is testing ride passes with frequent riders

Lyft is testing ride passes with frequent riders

Lyft has a new experiment that may make it more attractive to frequent users: ride passes of sort that lock in certain per-ride rates depending on how much you spend. The idea here is that, assuming you use the service frequently, you can save money in a way similar to bus and train passes, bringing your overall travel costs down. Such an arrangement may be necessary to secure daily or near-daily repeat customers.

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Toyota reveals fuel cell bus for 2017, can serve as emergency generator

Toyota reveals fuel cell bus for 2017, can serve as emergency generator

Toyota unveiled its newest hydrogen fuel cell-powered vehicle in Japan this week, but it's not a four-door sedan or crossover SUV; it's a bus intended for public transportation. The zero-emission bus uses the same technology as Toyota's new Mirai fuel cell sedan, and the plan is to have a fleet of 100 or so running in Tokyo in time for the 2020 Summer Olympics.

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AIR33 eBike is a lightweight, efficient way to get around a city

AIR33 eBike is a lightweight, efficient way to get around a city

Electrobike has introduced the new AIR33, an electric bicycle poised for getting you around the city in style, and without the burdens that an ordinary street bike may present. The AIR33 is lightweight and foldable, with the latter feature being tailored sensibly to one's needs: the bike can still be rolled on its wheels when folded up, meaning you don't have to carry it. As well, the bicycle includes an electric motor for riding along without peddling or for assistance while going up hills.

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Uber and Lyft face their newest battle in Philadelphia

Uber and Lyft face their newest battle in Philadelphia

Uber and Lyft face their latest legal struggle in Philadelphia, where they were ordered yesterday night to stop operating. Both companies ultimately ignored the order and continued providing rides via their respective platforms; soon after, Uber got a small victory via a preliminary injunction that blocked the cease and desist order. That itself is only a temporary victory, though, and the company -- as well as Lyft -- face an uphill battle to get more friendly legislation established, otherwise they risk a similar order to cease operations in the future.

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Apple Maps adds full Amtrak route data for nationwide train rides

Apple Maps adds full Amtrak route data for nationwide train rides

Yes, passenger train rides in most of the U.S. are long, expensive, and sparse. That doesn't stop some people from using them -- especially those in the northeast corridor and other highly-serviced regions -- and now Apple users can do so more easily than before. Apple Maps has been updated with Amtrak's full nationwide routes, as well as some routes that head up into Canada, enabling users to plot their trips from the comfort of Apple's own mapping app.

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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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