Next-Gen Mobility News, September 29th

Volume 15

Welcome to the next edition of our bi-weekly recap of the latest and greatest in connected and on-demand mobility.  If you’re not already receiving this email, you should be: Subscribe
LA taxis prepare for possible Uber Lyft departure
Spectrum News 1, September 25th
It was with little fanfare last year that the Los Angeles Department of Transportation announced it would overhaul the city’s taxi system in 2020, enabling passengers to summon a ride with an app and know the price of their rides before getting into the car. The move was designed to make L.A.’s taxis more competitive with Uber and Lyft, which have claimed the lion’s share of for-hire, on-demand transportation since they came to town eight years ago. Now that the taxi overhaul is poised to take effect, there is a new urgency, as voters head to the polls to determine the fate of Prop. 22, and whether ride-hail companies will be able to continue their practice of treating drivers as independent contractors.
Early Walmart drone program pilots will deliver groceries and COVID-19 tests to customers. Here’s everything you need to know about the retailer’s delivery trials
Business Insider, September 25th
Walmart is taking its deliveries to the sky by partnering with three drone companies: DroneUp, Flytrex, and Zipline. For Tom Ward, the retail giant’s senior vice president of customer product, Walmart’s drone experimentation will allow the company to tinker with “continuing to increase [delivery] speed and convenience in a very new and innovative way.”
California puts end to questionable third-party delivery practice
Restaurant Business Online, September 25th
Third-party delivery companies in California will no longer be allowed to list a restaurant on their platforms without the restaurant’s consent. The measure, known as the Fair Food Delivery Act, was signed into law Thursday by California Gov. Gavin Newsom. Starting Jan. 1, food delivery companies will need to get a restaurant’s OK before they can include it on their apps.
LMAD operates last-mile autonomous delivery robot at Aalto campus in Finland
SDC Exec, September 28th
The EIT Digital-supported innovation activity Last Mile Autonomous Delivery (LMAD) has developed a software platform to operate multiple types of autonomous delivery robots (ADRs). After operating the solution at Nokia’s Paris-Saclay campus in France, the LMAD startup, which has been incorporated to commercialise the solution, has recently successfully operated it in Finland.
Mercedes-Benz Vision Duet study is for the autonomous and electric future
Carscoops, September 27th
Say hello to the Mercedes-Benz Vision Duet, a futuristic concept car that shows what premium vehicles could look like when Level 5 autonomous technology becomes a reality. Designed by Lujie Huang as his senior thesis while studying at the ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, California, the Vision Duet is a three-seat grand tourer that aims to offer a new kind of road trip experience with a very innovative design.
Dumpling is a new alternative for Uber and Lyft drivers
LA Times, September 20th
Uber and Lyft are the undisputed leaders in the ride-hailing space. But with a regulatory dispute potentially forcing them to change their business practices or flee California — a potential harbinger of things to come — a ride-hail upstart has launched to give drivers an alternative.
Your FedEx packages may soon arrive by autonomous cargo plane
Gizmodo, September 27th
It’s 2020, and while the skies aren’t full of flying cars like we thought it would be by now, something else straight out of science fiction just got closer to reality: pilotless cargo planes delivering whatever stupid shit you ordered online. FedEx is partnering with Reliable Robotics to incorporate the firm’s unmanned aircraft into its delivery fleet, FedEx CEO Fred Smith said during an annual stockholder meeting last week that has largely flown under the radar.
Security software for autonomous vehicles
Science Daily, September 16th
Before autonomous vehicles participate in road traffic, they must demonstrate conclusively that they do not pose a danger to others. New software developed at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) prevents accidents by predicting different variants of a traffic situation every millisecond.
Ford CTO hypes 5G in autonomous vehicle future
Light Reading, September 24th
Ford – one of the largest suppliers of automobiles on the planet – continues to eye 5G and other connection technologies as it works to release cars that can drive themselves. “So we really believe that 5G and cellular V2X [vehicle to everything] will be key technology enablers for future smart vehicles, including advanced drive assist technologies. It will allow us to do Level 3 driving with more confidence in more places, including in urban environments.” said Ford’s CTO Ken Washington at a recent investor event, according to a Seeking Alpha transcript of his remarks.
Why autonomous trucks are carrying serious weight
Tech HQ, September 25th
Volkswagen’s heavy-truck business – The Traton Group – took a minority stake in TuSimple this week. Their agreement marks plans to launch a development program that will use Traton’s Scania trucks equipped with TuSimple’s automated vehicle technology. The companies will run testing on a route in Sweden, with a view to expediting the rollout and widespread use of driverless truck fleets on roads throughout Scandinavia, Germany, and other countries.
Lyft sketches a future for city streets with fewer cars
CNN Business, September 18th
As Lyft’s core ridehail business is pummeled by the pandemic, the company has taken a seemingly surprising step, paying urban planners to sketch out how street space can be shifted from cars to buses, bikes and pedestrians. Lyft released case studies Friday for what it calls resilient streets, which cater to multimodal commuting, in which people rely on several different ways of getting around.
How autonomous vehicles are paving the way for safety in the workplace
Forbes, September 23rd
While the concept of self-driving automobiles only gained popularity in the last few decades, the vision of a fully autonomous vehicle was first introduced at the World’s Fair in 1939 by industrialist Norman Bel Geddes. Geddes had a dream of “devices which will correct the faults of human beings as drivers,” according to his book Magic Motorways.