Cruise launches Autonomous Car Service in San Francisco

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Think autonomous car services are still far off, well think again. Cruise (a San Fran based startup) has begun testing Cruise Anywhere with its employee based in San Francisco. Employees are able to hail a self-driving vehicles and go anywhere they wish in San Francisco using a mobile app (just like ???).

Right Now, Cruise is using a small fleet of vehicles (modified Chevy Volts with lots of sensors and software, but says it has plans to expand fleet by a 100 vehicles in coming months.

Uber Freight Launches Commercially

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Uber has officially entered the trucking arena as long speculated by analysts.

Called Uber Freight, this new service focuses on driving logistics between trucking companies and independent operators to identify and disperse drivers against loads that need to be hauled from point to point.

They are leveraging the same technology platform as consumer Uber and the app is said to look very similar, albeit with a few more questions about load type and size. Uber claims it is simplifying a highly manual process (phone calls back and forth coordinating drivers and schedules) and bringing transparency to pricing for drivers. Drivers love the service as it accelerates cash flow by providing much faster settlement windows for pay.

Question will be if this is a bridge to autonomous trucking which Uber is also investing heavily in….given them an early look at truck logistics and volume of shippments across geographies.

 

Pre Order Your Flying Car

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The moment we have all been waiting for is here…It’s no longer about getting in line to buy the world’s best electric car, it’s about the new line for buying a flying car.

Aeromobil (known as the flying car company) announced the launch of its new model and plans to begin taking pre orders for a limited 1st run of production. Car company has committed to making its model commercially available this year with scale building on deliveries between now a 2020.

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Concept is pretty cool and definitely looks interesting. Car can transform from car mode to air mode is roughly 3 minutes, has a driving distance of 434 miles and a flight range of closer to 466 miles depending on conditions and throttle usage.

Top speed is said to be roughly 100 mph in care mode and 225 mph in air mode.

Good news is that is hasn’t skipped safety…plane or car (whatever) can deploy a parachute in case of emergency and comes with a full suite of airbags and pilot assisted flight functions.

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Pricing is TBD, but don’t expect it to come cheap until scale builds.

Meet Harry…The Self Driving Shuttle To Solve London’s Rural Commuting Challenges

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London introduces “Harry”, it’s prototype driver-less pod capable of carrying up to four passengers to and from designated routes at breakneck speeds of 10 MPH. This is an initiative born from the UK’s Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) which is designed to behave like the modern day, street legal mono rails.

Essentially shuttling passengers between commuting points and or high traffic areas via a special lane. London is hoping to break the traffic congestion problem by building a network of these autonomous commuting capabilities in both the city and in areas that are not regularly services by bus, train or trams.

Pilot begins in the next week.

Car Repair Made Easy – It Happens In Your Own Driveway

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Here’s an interesting new business focused removing the hassle and annoyance  of auto repairs. Getting your car evaluated and fixed is time consuming and somewhat unnerving if you have an older vehicle which no longer is covered by warranties, etc.

Wrench, a Seattle based startup, is looking to radically change that model with the introduction of a home service delivery model. Wrench is a mobile based experience that allows consumers to book tune ups, schedule repairs (reasonable ones) and or refers you to an approved network of partners for more in depth needs (e.g. transmission, exhaust.) They are also rolling out a subscription model for regular maintenance.

With 17.5 Million cars purchased last year alone, there is a steady stream of repairs to be made for decades to come. And it’s a huge pain point for owners (think managing supply & demand a la Uber.) Wrench will control the owner experience, the service quality assurance and provide guaranteed satisfaction before paying the bill.

As consumers move to self-driving vehicles…they will need repair to so Wrench could have a sustainable position for years to come.