ATLANTA -- You can add Lyft driver to Shaquille O'Neal's post-retirement resume.He talks, raps and sings with riders while disguised in different outfits and wigs.They share some laughs at the end of the nearly four-minute clip after learning O'Neal's true identity.Commenting on his acting skills, O'Neal says he's come a long way since starring as a genie in "Kazaam."The 1996 box office flop has earned a rating of 6 percent among critics on the rating-aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes.Advertisement
In the best-case scenario, policymakers would incorporate self-driving car technology into their plans, rather than competing with it for market share.Increased access to and from rail stationsMany people don t use public transit because there aren t any stations within walking distance of where they live, or where they need to go.But the Morgan Stanley report cites research from the University of California, Berkeley, saying that many of those trips — taken when public transit is prohibitively inconvenient — would have otherwise been made in privately owned cars.A taxi driver flies a Stop Uber flag at a protest in Lisbon, Portugal, on April 29, 2016.Yet this may not diminish the cumulative impact over time.This is particularly the case for drivers that bought into a regulated monopoly — such as that for taxicab medallions — with the expectation that the government would continue to enforce that monopoly, the report continues.
The money came in at Uber s valuation of $62.5 billion, which is the same amount at which it reportedly raised $2.1 billion late last year.The investment is part of Uber s series G round, but it s very large and noteworthy on its own.For perspective, that s more than publicly traded Twitter $6.47 billion, as of March 31 .Of course, Saudi Arabia is affiliated with oil, so for the investors, this deal can fairly be called strategic.The Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund is excited to have completed this important strategic investment with Uber, an extraordinary company with an inspiring mission, Yasir Al Rumayyan, the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund s managing director, said in a statement.This ambitious and far-reaching plan presents a number of goals, including unlocking strategic sectors such as tourism and entertainment, boosting employment opportunities and women s participation in the workforce, and encouraging entrepreneurship.And Al Rumayyan is right to talk about return on investment — when San Francisco-based Uber finally goes public, the deal should have a considerable payout.Toyota also recently invested in seven-year-old Uber.Meanwhile, Uber s competitors have been picking up big sums of money lately, too.Apple put $1 billion into Didi Chuxing of China, while GM put $500 million behind Lyft.
A picture cropped up on Twitter showing what at first appears to be just another Honda Civic driving for Lyft—until you notice it has Congressional license plates.Unfortunately it isn t a DC lawmaker daylighting as a Lyft driver in desperate need of some campaign financing, but rather Rep. Elijah E. Cummings daughter trying to earn some extra cash for school expenses, according to The Hill.It seems harmless enough until you realize that cars with Congressional plates get special parking spots and other privileges in the city, which could benefit a Lyft driver willing to exploit such perks.Of course I m not trying to suggest that s what happening—just exactly what I would do.Now that the tweeted picture has gone relatively viral, Cummings has asked his daughter to remove the license plates.I also love the irony that the name of the Twitter user that posted the photo is CIVIL1AN .
To help them get started, Uber has been offering short-term leases since July through a wholly owned Delaware-based subsidiary called Xchange Leasing, LLC.It partners with auto dealerships, advertises to drivers, manages risk, and even pays repo men to chase down cars whose drivers aren't making their payments.Xchange may be key to Uber's continued expansion as it tangles with Lyft in the U.S. and a bevy of competitors abroad.Two months later, Uber slashed fares nationally.Besides unlimited mileage, Uber's lease also includes routine maintenance.When GM invested $500 million in Lyft, the potential to finance Lyft drivers' cars was a major selling point of the deal.In a follow-up conversation, Durham's thinking had shifted.
4:11 Has the switch from Android back to Apple during the iPhone 6 been saturated?Taiwanese happened to be in Asia Apple analyst Ming Chi Kuo predicts Apple watch sales will fall in 2016.13:00 Is Apple s expansion to India with their current focus to China  going to save them?14:48 Note that China has just banned Apple movie and books services.Can Apple s rumored car restore their growth?Full Autonomy vs Incrementalism  20:18 Asia governments testing the concept of self driving car zones.28:10 Tesla s hybrid model OEM and services with their supercharging stations.
Our own world is now much the same: 3D printers can build a house, Uber s software can work out which drivers should get the boot, and Google has built an AI that can beat world champions at Go.Widespread automation creates a rift between two sections of society: The wealthy upper class made up of the engineers and managers who keep society running, and the lower class whose skills have been replaced by machines.Certainly, the elite roles in society are increasingly filled not by those that run the biggest stores, wealth funds or even countries.They scratch a living in a grey economy on the other side of the river, providing services to rich technocrats or, more likely, hustling whatever small gigs they can within their own community.We have seen tremors, though, and not just in the case of lawsuits being levelled at Uber and Lyft.Technology isn t creating new jobs as quickly as it s transforming existing employment.
The rise of self-driving cars leads to a host of questions, of course, but for the moment let's focus on just one: Will you still be able own a car?Ownership in all other parts of the market will likely drop considerably, as the following models expand and take hold.That's because I see it also suiting luxury buyers, but those who are a bit more tied to the traditional car ownership concept.When it goes on sale, you'll likely still be able to go into a dealership and get a lease on a $55,000 Volvo XC90 full-size SUV and drive it away or rather, have it drive you away .However, if you consider them in another light, these companies could be at the top of the pyramid, too, because — based upon current company models — they're a great equalizer.Green envisions themed Lyft ride options.
If you use Lyft to get around, the company just made their service even more useful.They recently started testing a new feature that lets you schedule your rides up to 24 hours in advance.In a blog post, Lyft announced:When it comes to getting around, passengers tell us they sometimes want the extra peace of mind to schedule a ride in advance.You ll be prompted to set a time, and your ride will be scheduled.You can make changes or cancel your ride up to 30 minutes before the requested time.For more detail, check out Lyft s full announcement at the link below.
Photo: SCMP PicturesDidi Chuxing has achieved a valuation of US$25 billion within four years of its inception, and emerged as the largest ride-hailing company on the mainland with a market share of over 80 per cent.Some of your partners such as Grab have put a huge focus on safety with features such as number masking to protect the privacy of passengers.Are you worried that drivers and users will lack loyalty without these perks and switch to whichever platform pays more or has a cheaper rate?When you can offer such a service to customers, passengers will develop a loyalty, and won t switch easily to other ride-hailing services.Our taxi services have always been available in Hong Kong, and it is quite popular among drivers because it helps them increase their income.Our colleagues in Hong Kong are holding talks with the government on ride-sharing issues.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration NHTSA introduced its current safety rating system for cars in 1978, and since then crash-test dummies have endured thousands of crashes, but only from the front seats.Soon though, dummies will get to ride in the back.NHTSA plans to begin putting crash-test dummies in the back seats of test cars beginning in 2019.While the popularity of ride-sharing services is a recent phenomenon, the safety of passengers in the back seat has long been an issue.Improving rear-seat safety can also involve trade-offs with front-seat safety, NHTSA says.Partition face is the nickname doctors around the country have given to head injuries sustained when a passenger in the rear seat of a vehicle hits the plexiglass barrier that separates the front and rear of taxi interiors, notes Bloomberg.
Automakers now recognize they may turn ride-hailing services and car sharing companies into steady customers for all sorts of vehicles, particularly hybrid and electric cars, industry executives and analysts say.Tie-ups with carpooling services or short-term rental companies help automakers expose consumers to brands they might otherwise ignore.In the latest tie-up between an automaker and a transportation technology startup, German luxury car maker BMW AG said on Wednesday its BMW iVentures venture capital arm has invested an undisclosed amount in California-based Scoop Technologies, which offers a smartphone-powered carpooling service called Scoop.1 automaker by vehicle sales, said it was investing an undisclosed amount of money in Uber UBER.UL .Toyota and some rival automakers currently offer discounts to drivers for Uber and its ride-hailing rival, Lyft.Reporting by Paul Lienert and Joseph White in Detroit, Heather Somerville and Alexandria Sage in San Francisco; Editing by Michele Gershberg and Matthew Lewis
Reuters – A flurry of deals between big automakers and ride hailing and transportation startups is rewriting the playbook in the contest to control the future of personal transportation.Automakers now recognize they may turn ride-hailing services and car sharing companies into steady customers for all sorts of vehicles, particularly hybrid and electric cars, industry executives and analysts say.Tie-ups with carpooling services or short-term rental companies help automakers expose consumers to brands they might otherwise ignore.Technology companies offer access to troves of consumer data, and sophisticated ways to analyze them.From the automakers, the Silicon Valley mobility companies obtain fresh capital, access to auto industry engineers who know how cars work and discounts on vehicles for their drivers.In the latest tie-up between an automaker and a transportation technology startup, German luxury car maker BMW said on Wednesday its BMW iVentures venture capital arm has invested an undisclosed amount in California-based Scoop Technologies, which offers a smartphone-powered carpooling service called Scoop.On Tuesday, Toyota, the world s No.1 automaker by vehicle sales, said it was investing an undisclosed amount of money in Uber.Details of these programs have yet to be decided, a Toyota spokesman said on Wednesday.Toyota and some rival automakers currently offer discounts to drivers for Uber and its ride-hailing rival, Lyft.Ride sharing can help the automaker get to know customers who have never driven a BMW, he said.The Scoop application connects people who live in the same neighborhoods and work near each other to arrange carpools.Reporting by Paul Lienert and Joseph White in Detroit, Heather Somerville and Alexandria Sage in San Francisco; Editing by Michele Gershberg and Matthew Lewis
Traditional carmakers putting money into buzzy Silicon Valley ride-hailing startups has suddenly become a big thing in business.General Motors invested $500 million in Lyft, Toyota just invested an undisclosed — though reportedly modest — amount in Uber, and VW put $300 million into Gett.These aren't tiny amounts of money, but in the grand scheme of the valuation of an Uber — more than $60 billion, with over $10 billion in venture funding raised — they're cautious forays into the space.For the sake of comparison, a major automaker will spend $1 billion to develop just one new vehicle, and all automakers contribute to a multibillion-dollar advertising gold rush every year to market the cars and trucks.Much of the commentary around these investment plays has highlighted the 100-year-old-plus auto industry's reluctance to get left in the disruptive dust by hot new enterprises that are, allegedly, shifting the world away from car ownership — a bogus claim, obviously, as automakers are now selling more cars and trucks than ever.But what GM, Toyota, and Volkswagen are really doing is attacking one of their thorniest challenges.The problem of 'fleet'It's called "fleet sales."In a nutshell, these are the cars that automakers sell in large numbers to certain customers, such as rental-car agencies, governments, and corporations.Rather, they rely on independent operators to buy acceptable cars and then qualify to participate the ride-sharing platform.You can see why automakers would want a piece of this.The Toyota deal with Uber actually bakes in the financing, and Uber drivers who get a Toyota vehicle will be able to use their earnings to make payments.This all wouldn't be such an appealing arrangement for traditional automakers if Uber, Lyft, and others didn't need to have their drivers in relatively high-quality, new-ish cars.A beaten-up Toyota Camry is OK as a New York City yellow cab, but it isn't as an Uber vehicle, which is supposed to provide an environment that's more like a "black car" executive limo.So there you have it.Ride-hailing startups have inadvertently supplied automakers with a magic bullet to change the dynamics of how they do fleet sales.
Toyota said the two companies would share also knowledge and speed up their research efforts in areas such as driverless cars.Volkswagen announced an investment in Gett, an Israel-based rideshare operator.Gett chief executive Shahar Waiser also stressed that the partnership with VW would involve technology and innovation.Uber's deal with Toyota follows Apple's $1bn investment in Chinese ride-hailing service Didi Chuxing.That has been regarded in some quarters as a political move by the US technology giant to bolster its presence in the crucial Chinese market.In March, General Motors invested $500m in US Uber rival Lyft to help develop an on-demand network of self-driving cars.
Pushing ahead with the development of its self-driving technology, Google has decided to set up shop in the traditional home of the automotive industry – Detroit.With some members of Google s self-driving team already working in the area, the company said it feels now is the right time to lay down roots.Many of our current partners are based here, so having a local facility will help us collaborate more easily and access Michigan s top talent in vehicle development and engineering, the company said in a Google post announcing the news.The company said the project gives it the opportunity to test its self-driving gear with a larger vehicle – up to now it s been using the Toyota Prius, Audi TT, and Lexus RX450h cars, as well as its much smaller pod-like vehicle, to put its kit through its paces.Google s tie-up with the Italian-American automaker comes at a time of much activity in the sector, with tech firms, traditional car companies, and ride-hailing services scrambling to form alliances to work more aggressively toward their goals in the areas of self-driving and electric cars.Just yesterday we heard Toyota had inked a deal with ride-hailing giant Uber, which is already investing heavily in self-driving technology, while GM earlier this year invested $500 million in Uber rival Lyft.
Toyota and Volkswagen are the latest automakers to forge alliances with ride-hailing companies, deals that could see the car makers not only sell cars to drivers of the app companies but also develop jointly on-demand mobility technologies.Toyota said last year it was testing the Highway Teammate, an automated vehicle, and expects to launch self-driving cars based on the technology by 2020.A deal announced recently between Lyft and General Motors, which involved a US$500 million investment by GM in the ride-hailing company, also involves the joint development of an integrated network of on-demand autonomous cars, combining technology for self-driving cars from GM with software to automate ride matching, routing and payments from Lyft.A proposed US$300 million investment by Volkswagen in Gett, an European ride hailing provider, also announced Tuesday, is linked to the company s stated objective of generating a substantial share of sales revenue from new business models like mobility-on-demand by 2025.Volkswagen announced last month a new company for the development of mobility services.Gett will provide Volkswagen with the technology to expand beyond car ownership to on-demand mobility for consumers and businesses, said Gett's founder and CEO Shahar Waiser in a statement.
Staying relevant in the automotive industry seems increasingly tied to the ride-sharing industry, and now, Volkswagen Group has become the latest to join the foray.It s a trendy move as of late, with General Motors announcing a similar investment in Lyft earlier this year, and Uber partnering with a major Chinese automaker back in 2015.In London, the service has seen particular success, with over half of all black cabs operated by the transportation startup.With VW s investment, Gett will now accelerate its expansion to the rest of Europe, and strengthen its position in NYC, where we already operate.For its part, Volkswagen has clearly taken note of the need to expand its market, and in particular, the opportunity made available by on-demand mobility.Within the framework of our future Strategy 2025, the partnership with Gett marks the first milestone for the Volkswagen Group on the road to providing integrated mobility solutions that spotlight our customers and their mobility needs.
It comes just weeks after GM s $1 billion acquisition of Cruise Automation, a self-driving startup based in the testing city.On top of the acquisition, it also invested $500 million into ride-sharing app Lyft to build an autonomous taxi fleet.Bolt soon to be roll out as Lyft and Uber options?Lyft and Uber are both looking at the future five years as building blocks for self-driving taxis, but unlike Uber, Lyft has decided to work with a major automaker to expand the platform.We don t know the specifics of the partnership, but from the outside it looks like Lyft will receive autonomous cars from General Motors for free or at small cost in return for a share of the profits.In Europe, automakers may flock to the U.K., after the Queen s Speech called for the legalization of autonomous cars.
"The companies announced Tuesday that they had entered a "memorandum of understanding" to start exploring how they could work together.That begins Tuesday with new leasing options from Toyota that let Uber drivers cover their payments with their earnings.Toyota Financial Services Corp. and Mirai Creation Investment Limited Partnership will also be making a strategic investment in Uber.The amount was not disclosed.We re excited that Toyota, the largest automobile manufacturer in the world, is making a strategic investment in Uber as part of a broader global partnership.Toyota vehicles are among the most popular cars on the Uber platform worldwide and we look forward to collaborating with Toyota in multiple ways going forward, starting with the expansion of our vehicle financing efforts, said Emil Michael, chief business officer of Uber, in the press release.It's not the first time a traditional automaker has come knocking on a ride-hailing company's door.The Uber-Toyota collaboration comes on the heels of Volkswagen announcing a $300 million investment in Uber competitor Gett.Uber's other rival, Lyft, may be a better example though of a direction Uber could take in a newly minted collaboration.Lyft and GM have since teamed up on projects like providing rental cars to people who want to drive for Lyft.NOW WATCH: Uber drivers reveal 5 ways to get a better passenger ratingLoading video...