Ford’s New Factory Shows Its Commitment To Self-Driving Cars (3-20-19)

Ford has been working with autonomous vehicles for years.

Ford hasn’t shied away from the prospect of robo-cars.

Back in 2017, Ford brought on autonomous vehicle startup Argo AI to develop a self-driving program with plans to provide a self-driving taxi service in several cities by 2021. It’s been testing in Miami, Washington, D.C., Detroit, and maybe soon in Austin. Its cars can be spotted testing autonomous food deliveries in Miami. Autonomous pizza, anyone?

Ford cars were even used early in Uber’s self-driving program back before Volvo brought in thousands of its vehicles, including one that was involved in last year’s fatal crash in Arizona.

On Wednesday, the company announced a new autonomous vehicle factory in Michigan, part of a $900 million investment in the region. The factory is an even bigger sign that the auto company wants be part of autonomous technology. It’s supposed to be up and running by 2021, in time for that Ford taxi service to offer autonomous rides.

Along with producing more electric vehicles, the factory plans to take hybrid Fords and make them specifically for self-driving with cameras, sensors, and computers and a “unique interior.” The cars would be for a taxi service and also for transporting groceries or food deliveries. So instead of modifying cars to be self-driving ready, these cars would be made with self-driving as the main, original purpose of the vehicle.

Read Full Story Here (via Mashable)

App Aims To Reduce Traffic Congestion, Increase Ride Sharing (3-11-19)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A new app aims to help solve Nashville’s traffic problems, by encouraging people to share rides and reduce the number of cars on the road.

The Hytch Rewards app is free and available for Android and iOS smartphones. It was invented and built in Nashville.

“It makes sense if everyone shares a ride,” said Mark Cleveland, CEO and Co-Founder of Hytch. “That is the fastest way to a congestion-free lifestyle.”

Read Full Story Here (via News Channel 5 Nashville)

Brookfield To Introduce Self-Driving Cars At Massive Northern Virginia Development (2-8-19)

Courtesy of Brookfield A rendering of the Optimus Ride self-driving car in front of the Wegmans at Brookfield’s Reston development.

One of the world’s largest real estate firms will roll out self-driving vehicles at a huge property it owns in Northern Virginia this summer.

Brookfield Properties announced Thursday it will deploy Optimus Ride self-driving cars at an office park in Reston where it plans to launch a $1.4B development.

The vehicles will be introduced in June at One Reston Crescent and Two Reston Crescent, the two existing office buildings on the 36-acre site where Brookfield is planning a 3.5M SF mixed-use project.

Read Full Story Here (via Bisnow)

Lyft Introduces ‘Green Mode’ To Put Riders In EVs, Hybrids (2-9-19)

Dive Brief:

  • Lyft is introducing a new “Green Mode” that will let passengers request an electric or hybrid vehicle as part of the platform’s goal to get a billion rides per year in electric cars by 2025. The green option is live in Seattle and will spread to other cities soon.
  • Drivers will be able to access electric vehicles (EVs) through Lyft’s Express Drive program, which allows users to rent vehicles to drive for Lyft.
  • Lyft announced this fall it would go carbon neutral by moving to renewable energy and purchasing carbon offsets to “neutralize the remainder of [its] emissions.” As part of that goal, the company says all EV charging will be done with renewable energy.

Read Full Story Here (via Smart Cities Dive)

Uber Exploring Self-Driving Tech For Bikes, Scooters (1-22-19)

Dive Brief:

  • Uber is working on autonomous software that would allow dockless scooters and bikes to drive themselves to riders and charging stations, TechCrunch reports, citing commentsfrom 3D Robotics CEO Chris Anderson. Anderson said the announcement about the new Micromobility Robotics team was made at a DIY Robocars event this weekend.
  • The Daily Telegraph reports that Uber has already begun hiring for the research team, which would work under Jump, the micromobility firm that Uber acquired last year.
  • In a Google Form seeking information from people interested in career opportunities, Uber’s autonomous technology team said it was “exploring ways to improve safety, rider experience, and operational efficiency of our shared electric scooters and bicycles through the application of sensing and robotics technologies.”

Read Full Story Here (via Smart Cities Dive)