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[Due to the increasing size of the archives, each topic page now contains only the prior 365 days of content. Access to older stories is now solely through the Monthly Archive pages or the site search function.]

Mercedes-Benz Vans sets up on-demand van-ride-sharing JV with US start-up Via; Daimler invests $50M in Via

September 05, 2017

Mercedes-Benz Vans is entering the ride-sharing sector by setting up a joint venture with the US startup company Via. Daimler Mobility Services additionally joins in as a strategic investor in Via with a $50-million stake. For Daimler Mobility Services, Volker Mornhinweg will be joining Via’s board of directors.

Unlike other ride-hailing companies, Via has focused on developing, from the ground up, a scalable and on-demand shared ride solution. The intelligent Via algorithm supports smart public transport, enabling a dynamic mass transit system that reduces traffic volume in urban areas.

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smart vision EQ fortwo autonomous electric concept for ride sharing; emodying all of CASE

August 31, 2017

smart has unveiled the smart vision EQ fortwo, embodying a new vision of urban mobility and individualized highly flexible, efficient local public transport: the autonomous concept vehicle picks up its passengers directly from their chosen location.

The smart vision EQ fortwo is also a car in which all of the individual fields of expertise that make up the CASE corporate strategy are combined, allowing users in the city intuitive access to individual mobility. CASE stands for the strategic pillars of connectivity (Connected), autonomous driving (Autonomous), flexible use (Shared & Services) and electric drive systems (Electric). (Earlier post.)

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Austin study teases out changes in behavior in wake of suspension of Uber and Lyft service

August 14, 2017

Researchers at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, Texas A&M Transportation Institute and Columbia University surveyed more than 1,200 people in Austin, Texas, to examine how their habits changed after Uber and Lyft pulled drivers out of the city due to a local law change. In May 2016, Austin voters blocked a ballot measure that would have allowed the companies to keep using their own background-check systems.

The researchers looked for changes in the choice of transportation mode, trip frequency and vehicle ownership. They focused their questions on the last trip respondents had taken with Uber or Lyft before service stopped, and how they had been taking that type of trip now that they could no longer rely on those companies. They also asked the extent to which participants were inconvenienced by the service suspension.

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MIT CSAIL, Cornell study finds rides-sharing theoretically could cut taxi traffic in NYC by 75%

January 03, 2017

A new modeling study by a team from MIT CSAIL (Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory) and Cornell suggests that using ride-sharing from companies like Uber and Lyft theoretically could reduce the number of taxis on the road in New York City by 75% without significantly impacting travel time. A paper on their work will be published this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Led by Professor Daniela Rus of MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), the researchers developed a dynamic ride-sharing algorithm that found that 3,000 four-passenger cars could serve 98% of taxi demand in New York City, with an average wait-time of only 2.7 minutes. The team also found that 95 percent of demand would be covered by just 2,000 ten-person vehicles, compared to the nearly 14,000 taxis that currently operate in New York City.

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