Boston-based self-driving startup Optimus Ride said on Thursday that it will provide rides in its golf cart-sized vehicles to tenants of a $1.4 billion mixed-use development project in Reston, Virginia, starting later this year. It will be a very modest deployment of the technology — three vehicles on a fixed loop to and from the parking facility — but it underscores the need for self-driving car operators to rein in their ambitions before going public.
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.
Road crashes claim nearly 40,000 lives annually in the United States. The result is considerable financial and emotional suffering to society. Highly automated vehicles (HAVs) — vehicles that drive themselves some or all of the time – should help. By shifting responsibility for driving from humans to machines, this technology minimizes opportunities for behavioral errors blamed in most road crashes.
The other evening as I worked in a coffee shop on a busy intersection at rush hour in Washington, DC, I was struck by the sheer magnitude of the number of drivers passing by that were looking down at their phones. Over the hour I watched, at least half of the drivers who were stopped at the red light looked down at their phone screens at least once, hurriedly scrolling and typing away, entirely oblivious to the fact that the light had turned green until they received a helpful honk from the car behind. When the light was green at least a quarter of those passing through were glancing down at their phones or fixated on some knob or dial on their console, glancing up only sporadically to see if the car ahead was braking. While driverless cars may eventually free us to spend our commutes entirely on our phones, in the meantime, could AI-powered traffic cameras finally rid of the dangers of distracted drivers?