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Uber

by   -   June 12, 2017
Source: Uber

Uber, the global ride-sharing transportation company, has named two replacements to recover from the recent firing of Anthony Levandowski who headed their Advanced Technologies Group, their OTTO trucking unit, and their self-driving team. Levandowski was fired May 30th.

I generally pay very little attention when companies issue a press release about an “alliance.” It’s usually not a lot more than a press release, unless there are details on what will actually be built. The recent announcement that Uber plans to buy some self-driving cars from Daimler/Mercedes is mostly just such an announcement.

Source: Uber
Source: Uber

Uber is testing its self-proclaimed “self-driving” vehicles on California roads without complying with the testing requirements of California’s automated driving law. California’s Department of Motor Vehicles says that Uber is breaking that law; Uber says it’s not. The DMV is correct.

by   -   September 19, 2016

uber-nutonomy-pilot-cars_1075_361_80_s

Two self-driving car events of note: Uber just began operating a fleet of Volvo self-driving cars in Pittsburgh, and nuTonomy launched the first autonomous pilot taxi program last month in Singapore. Both still require a driver, although he/she will be as hands-off as much as possible.

Cheap robotaxi service under 50 cents/mile will make personal car transportation economically accessible. If the calculated cost drops to 30 cents/mile, or even 10 cents/mile in poorer economies, there’s potential for vast accessible to billions of new people. The market may already be saturated in the United States, which has vast car ownership, but the global average is about 15%. The car industry is facing a boom not a bust, from this technology.

Many mass transit systems shut down at night, especially in places like the US. Demand is low, and that creates a big burden for the ‘night people’ of the world, who are left with taxis and occasional carpooling, or more limited night bus service. Should transit agencies make a deal with companies like Uber to operate their carpool services?

Google_car

Google has done over 2.7 million km of testing with their existing fleet, they announced. Now, they will be putting their small “buggy” vehicle onto real streets in Mountain View. The cars will stick to slower streets and are NEVs that only go 25mph.

With an UberX flag drop now costing as little as $0.18 per minute / $0.90 per mile, we should start seeing people deliberately dropping cars for Uber. I forecast robotaxi service can be available for even less.

Uber is opening a robocar lab in Pittsburgh, and could be hiring up to 50 CMU folks to staff it.

Uber-Taxi-NYC2-1024x615Uber is spreading fast, and running into protests from the industries it threatens, and in many places, the law has responded and banned, fined or restricted the service. I’m curious what Uber’s battles might teach us about the future battles of robocars .



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