Mayor Bowser Establishes Autonomous Vehicle Working Group (2-14-18)

A dog carefully observes a food delivery bot in Germany.

D.C. government is looking ahead on self-driving cars.  On Monday, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser announced the creation of the city’s Interagency AV Working Group to explore an autonomous vehicle pilot program to “help benefit District residents and visitors.”

“We will keep the District on the cutting edge of autonomous vehicles and do so in a way that benefits our residents,” said Mayor Bowser in a statement. “Washington, D.C. is a creative, tech-savvy city, and as we grow, we will always be exploring and investing in innovation and finding ways to make it more inclusive.”

The working group is made up of representatives from across multiple city agencies.

Read Full Story Here (via Technical.ly)

How to Get Free Rides on Valentine’s Day: Uber & Lyft Codes

There’s no reason to drink and drive on Valentine’s Day. Whether you’re out on a date and you both had a little too much to drink or you’re having a single Valentine’s Day that simply requires drinking, there are plenty of options available to avoid drinking and driving. Many transportation companies are offering reduced-price coupon codes for the day. You can also reduce your price even more if you know how to avoid surge pricing. If you know of any other good coupon codes, let us know in the comments below.

Read Full Story Here (via Heavy.)

This DC Taxi Driver Was a Superstar in Ethiopia (2-12-18)

Left: Photo collage by a fan (unknown) at the Hilton Hotel, late 1960s. Right: Hailu Mergia today.

In the 60s and 70s, Hailu Mergia was a famous musician in Africa. But famine in the 80s forced him to move to the US. Now he’s poised for a comeback.

As a young man living in Addis Ababa during the swinging 60s, Hailu Mergia was a superstar. The Ethiopian capital city was a bustling cosmopolis where art and culture flourished amid the country’s uneasy quest for independence.

His jazz and funk band, The Walias, performed for the domestic and international elite at the then-prestigious Hilton Hotel’s music club, which granted residencies to Ethiopia’s hottest bands. Crowds of dignitaries and foreign diplomats, Hollywood movie stars, famous musicians like Duke Ellington and Alice Coltrane, and important African figures like Manu Dibango would flock to the hotel to dance and jam until sunrise.

Read Full Story Here (via VICE)

D.C. Taxi Drivers Worry As Rideshare Firm Doubles Service Area (2-8-18)

Ridesharing company Via this week expanded to 24/7 service and doubled the number of D.C. neighborhoods where users can order rides, worrying cabdrivers who face increased competition.

“This is part of a big push we’re making in the D.C. market to be available to folks,” Via General Manager Alex Lavoie told The Washington Times.

The ridesharing company entered the D.C. market in 2016, and until this week, users previously could ride only during commuting hours along Metro’s Red line.

Read Full Story Here (via The Washington Times)

The Sharing Economy Needs To Be Better Partners With Cities (2-7-18)

Why can’t we be friends? A San Salvador taxi driver takes part in a demonstration against Uber. Jose Cabezas/Reuters

In the course of just a few years, the sharing economy has progressed from a few scrappy start-ups to an industry of mega-companies worth tens of billions of dollars. These platform-based businesses run on equal parts tech innovation and contract labor, with cities serving as the underlying foundation for success.

To put it simply, cities make the sharing economy work—they provide the dense, free agglomeration of customers, labor, and infrastructure these companies’ business models require. But it remains an open question whether cities and the sharing economy can be friends or enemies.

Read Full Story Here (via CityLab)