Global network competing with Uber: As other industries such as airlines have found, sometimes it’s necessary to build alliances with several international partners to create a strong global network. The ridesharing business is seeing this happen with Lyft in the U.S., Ola in India, Didi Kuaidi in China, and GrabTaxi in Southeast Asia, announcing a strategic global rideshare partnership. The joint partner ride products will start rolling out in the first quarter of 2016. For international travelers, this alliance will offer seamless ridesharing across multiple countries.
Nissan has partnered with a small San Francisco company, Scoot Networks, to test out urban mobility concept cars. There will be 10 Nissan “New Mobility Concepts” tried out with the Scoot Network Mobility Service in San Francisco. Scoot offers shared, zero-emission, smartphone-activated vehicles that one can ride, as for now only in San Francisco. The idea works similarly to a rental, but the vehicles are a much faster, easy to park way to get around town. Scoot had only offered classic electric scooters and cargo scooters. Nissan bring its all-electric, two-seater vehicle with a range of 40 miles.
Meeting of the Minds 2015 convened Oct. 20-22, 2015 in Berkeley and Richmond, Calif. Go to this page to view videos, photos and media coverage of the event. A final report will be released in early 2016; in the meantime you can view discussion of a wide range of leading-edge urban mobility issues.
Zipcar president Kaye Ceille thinks big changes are coming through autonomous vehicles. Like many observers, Ceille expects autonomous vehicles to make car ownership less appealing and open up bigger opportunities for Zipcar. While most carsharing and ridesharing companies are about five-years old or newer, Zipcar is a more seasoned veteran. Founded in 1999, the company has a few war stories to tell living through the original dot-com bubble and bringing an all-new transportation concept to North America and beyond.
Those following the Hyperloop project look forward to find out who will win a competition laid out earlier this year by Elon Musk. On Jan. 15, 2015, Musk announced plans to build a Hyperloop test track and hold a contest in summer 2016 at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, Calif. The goal is creating a functioning, half-scale pod. Specs for the test track’s tube were released in October. A design weekend for finalists will be held at Texas A&M University on Jan. 13, 2016.
Self-driving car forecast: Britain’s Juniper Research forecasts that by 2025, self-driving vehicles will represent less than 1% of the vehicles in use around the world – but it’s not a small number. As many as 20 million of these vehicles likely will be operating on roads around the world by the middle of the next decade. Tesla Motors releasing its new Autopilot feature this fall has moved the technology forward faster than expected. Cadillac, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Nissan are among the makers planning similar autonomous features in the next few years. Nissan promises to have its first fully autonomous model in production sometime in 2020.
Ford is joining up with several competitors in offering Apple’s Siri voice command service. But unlike some of its competitors, Ford will allow owners of vehicles dating back as far as the 2011 model-year to add the popular feature to their cars. Ford vehicle owners can go online, download the update and then plug it into vehicles equipped with Sync and Ford’s MyFord Touch infotainment system.
Navigant Research has published two urban mobility reports. One study analyzes smart urban mobility infrastructure and services being offered in smart cities; topics covered include the market for carsharing and rideshare services; public EV charging equipment and services; smart parking systems; congestion charging schemes; and advanced intelligent transportation systems. The popular Internet of Things (IoT) concept is explored though a study on technology services for residential customers. Smart thermostats allow a user to remotely control household temperatures via a smartphone. Smart meters can connect to thermostats for demand response. According to the Navigant study, the residential IoT market is being driven by a desire to enable devices to communicate and share information for the purposes of greater efficiency, automation, security, and comfort in homes.