Weekly rideshare & delivery roundup: Driverless food delivery, flying cars, Uber & Lyft IPO and more
DoorDash to test driverless food delivery
DoorDash and General Motors’ subsidiary Cruise Automation are ready to begin testing driverless food delivery in early 2019 in San Francisco. Autonomous Chevy Bolts are going to deliver restaurant food, as well as groceries to DoorDash clients.
Autonomous passenger car food delivery is not a novelty to the US market. For instance, Ford partners with Postmates, its cars deliver Walmart groceries and Domino’s pizzas, and a newbie called Nuro partners with Kroger to deliver groceries by already fully autonomous Priuses.
Autonomous delivery is a relatively fresh trend that derived from the necessity to reduce congestion and free people of routine stuff. Such necessity has also generated another new trend, namely robotic delivery. Doordash has its Marble to deliver small cargo, while Postmates is currently trying to deploy the technology using a cute little robot named Serve.
Photo credit: DoorDash
Bell’s air taxi to become new Uber’s flying car
Bell’s new concept called Nexus represents a hybrid-electric helicopter with vertical take-off and landing ability and is now planned to become available in the mid-2020s as Uber flying car. It is notable that Bell is among the companies that have been partnering with Uber since the idea of flying car deployment aimed at combating street congestion was announced by the company. Bell’s concepts introduction remains an important part of Uber’s annual flying taxi conferences.
There are still lots of concerns related to implementation of such an outstanding project concept. Uber sees its flying taxis electric, vertically taking off/landing and unmanned which is impressive, but takes ages to bring to life. Uber is currently striving to deliver its unmanned vehicles on the road, however it takes time to bring the autonomous vehicle system to perfection.
Boston to raise congestion fee for Uber & Lyft
Boston is planning to raise its congestion fee that currently equals to 20 cents for each ride in the framework of rideshare services. A quick note: congestion fee deployment is a decision aimed at combating congestion in the busiest streets of cosmopolitan cities.
Anyway, Boston’s congestion fee seems to be lower than that of New York and riders are not the ones who shall pay it. Nevertheless, such a modest fee resulted in $3.5 million surplus in the year 2018. It is equally shared between the municipality and a taxi industry fund.
The congestion fee is also planned to be smaller in case of pooled rides.
Uber & Lyft IPO threatened by government shutdown
A long-term government shutdown may have an impact on tech giants heading for the IPO. Uber and Lyft are waiting for the Securities and Exchange Commission to reopen. Neither the Commission, nor the companies comment on the issue since IPO details are confidential.
If Uber’s IPO eventually takes place, it is expected to be massive. Uber is still anticipated to beat Lyft in valuation since it is hard to beat the estimated $120 billion. Lyft, in its turn, was valued at $15 billion within the framework of the recent funding round. Maybe, soon we will be able to see where investors’ preferences lie.
Uber has been changing transportation market for almost a decade now. Whereas, Lyft is gaining more and more popularity each day because of a bit higher drivers’ pay, newer vehicles and a praised customer service. All of this makes Lyft a worthy competitor to Uber.