Next-Gen Mobility News, June 23rd

Vol. 8

Lyft cuts carbon offsets, promises to transition to electric vehicles by 2030
CNN Business, June 17th
Lyft is making a pledge to offer rides only in electric vehicles by 2030, while it also canceled a program to help fight climate change by offsetting carbon emissions. The company is scrapping the carbon offset program it launched in 2018. The offsets made all of its rides carbon neutral, but at a cost of millions of dollars. Lyft said that net emissions from cars on its platform may increase in the short term as a result.
Santa Monica to pilot zero emissions delivery zones
Clean Technica, June 21st
The city of Santa Monica’s main business district has been chosen as the pilot for the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator’s new Neighborhood Zero Emissions Delivery Zone. The Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI) has put out an RFI (request for information) to companies far and wide who may have the technological solutions they need to solve this challenge. It’s one of the first tools in their Transportation Electrification Partnership, which you must have read about here.
DoorDash scores valuation of $16 billion as coronavirus pushesit to top of food-delivery chain
CNBC, June 19th
The coronavirus pandemic has upended the U.S. economy and wreaked havoc on businesses ranging from global shipping to cruise lines to restaurants. But food-delivery companies are thriving, with DoorDash looking to be the rare winner in its niche. 
Waymo and Uber propose AI techniques to improve self-driving systems
Venture Beat, June 21st
During a workshop on autonomous driving at the Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR) 2020, Waymo and Uber presented research to improve the reliability — and safety — of their self-driving systems. Waymo principal scientist Drago Anguelov detailed ViDAR, a camera and range-centric framework covering scene geometry, semantics, and dynamics. Raquel Urtasun, chief scientist at Uber’s Advanced Technologies Group, demonstrated a pair of technologies that leverage vehicle-to-vehicle communication for navigation, traffic modeling, and more.
SpaceX launches 58 more Starlink satellites and3 Planet Skysats for first rideshare launch
TechCrunch, June 13th
SpaceX has launched its latest batch of Starlink satellites, growing the constellation by another 58 spacecraft just 10 days after its most recent Starlink launch. That brings the total number of operational Starlink broadband internet satellites on orbit to 538. SpaceX also split the payload for this Starlink mission for the first time, giving up two of its usual Starlink payload complement in order to also carry three Planet Skysat spacecraft on behalf of that client.
California regulators say Uber, Lyft drivers are employees
SF Chronicle, June 10th
The California agency that regulates Uber and Lyft said in an order Tuesday that ride-hail drivers are employees under AB5, the state’s new gig-work law, marking a significant development in the battle over drivers’ status.
Flop of BlueIndy car-share reflects broader ride-hailing challenges
The Detroit News, June 9th
BlueIndy, a pioneering car-sharing service in Indianapolis that launched in 2014, quietly closed last month. Beset by losses, the decision to pull the plug on BlueIndy’s electric cars came before the global coronavirus pandemic – and as other similar services have also shut their doors.
Self-driving taxis could be a setback for those with different needs – unless companies embrace accessible design now
TechXplore, June 22nd
Autonomous vehicles (AVs), like self-driving taxis, continue to garner media attention as industry and political stakeholders claim that they will improve safety and access to transportation for everyone. But for people who have different mobility needs and rely on human drivers for work beyond the task of driving, the prospect of driverless taxis may not sound like progress. Unless accommodations are built in to autonomous vehicle designs, companies risk undermining transportation access for the very communities this technology is promising to include.
Toyota looks pretty smart right now on autonomous vehicles
Forbes, June 10th
The automobile world is in quiet retreat on the topic of fully autonomous vehicles (AVs). As an excellent article by Steve LeVine in Marker described, vehicle autonomy is closely linked with ride-sharing, and in the pandemic era we’re going through, nobody wants to share cars much anymore.
Porsche Drive: A subscription service with a menu of fast cars
New York Times, June 18th
A subscription service for fast cars aims to tap a new market. S.U.V.s dominate during the week, and convertibles or sports cars become more popular on weekends.
For resilient, sustainable city mobility after COVID-19,these trends must continue
World Economic Forum, June 19th
Initial response efforts to the COVID-19 lockdown fueled surprising progress in the mobility space. Lockdowns reduced car traffic, encouraged walking and cycling and minimized emissions. One-of-a-kind partnerships emerged quickly between governments, private mobility operators and public transit systems. With restrictions easing in many countries – and a return to using private vehicles – there is a risk the progress made in the past weeks may deteriorate. Stakeholders from Wunder Mobility, ShareNow, Voi Scooters, Kochen für Helden and the City of Oslo came together recently to discuss these issues and how to build on the positive mobility changes made during the COVID crisis. They were convened by #WeAllMove, a mobility service match-making platform launched in April by Wunder Mobility, leveraging multi-stakeholder collaboration in partnership with the World Economic Forum’s COVID Action Platform.
‘Ghost’ vehicles show how self-driving cars can save energy
Business Magazine Greenville, June 22nd
Technology in autonomous cars is taking another step forward with the help of a Clemson University team that is wrapping up three years of research into how the vehicles can save energy. Ardalan Vahidi, a mechanical engineering professor, said he and his team created algorithms that help autonomous, wirelessly-connected vehicles anticipate the behavior of other vehicles to reduce braking. The less a vehicle brakes, the less energy it wastes through heat and the more energy efficient it becomes. The team found its algorithms resulted in energy savings ranging from 8-23 percent, depending on the scenario.
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