General Motors previously touted plans to bring its fleet of self-driving cars to New York City in early 2018, but so far, robo taxis haven’t invaded the big apple. Is the NYC plan dead-on-arrival?
Jalopnik reported on Monday that it appears things are stillborn at best. After investigating the manner, and requesting public records filed with the New York Department of Motor Vehicles, the documents turned up an intriguing answer, or the lack of documents, to be precise.
“After a diligent search, the Department is not in possession of any records responsive to your request,” the DMV told Jalopnik.
GM has not filed to obtain a permit to test self-driving cars in the state as of September 4, 2018, and both the DMV and GM Cruise, the automaker’s self-driving car subsidiary, offered up similar responses to the discovery. Both said the application process is ongoing and noted the complex regulatory environment. Neither said the program was dead.
A non-profit group pushing for GM Cruise to roll out self-driving cars in NYC also declined to comment on the matter. Tech:NYC threw its support behind GM this past March to help bring the self-driving car tests to the city.
There may also be a political wing to the story. When GM announced its intentions to bring self-driving cars to NYC, Governor Andrew Cuomo championed the announcement. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio offered up a different response.
“We have very real safety concerns. We are obviously looking forward to some detail on this idea before any cars hit the streets,” a spokesperson for the mayor’s office said at the time of the announcement. The governor’s office reportedly never consulted with the mayor over GM’s intentions.
In a new statement, the mayor’s office said, “The previous GM pilot was announced by the State without first consulting the City or NYPD, exacerbating those concerns.”
Despite the setbacks, GM still maintains a presence in NYC for its future fleet of self-driving cars. The automaker continues to lease space in the Tribeca district, which reportedly houses a few employees.
Waze launches nationwide carpool app
Waze, the crowd-sourced navigation app that helps its users avoid traffic jams and speed traps, has launched a carpooling app. The Google-owned company says Waze Carpool, which went live across the country today, could one day cut down on traffic.
Finding that most people want to carpool with people they know, Waze built the service to provide an introduction. Users, who must provide a validated work email to register, gain access to Facebook and LinkedIn profiles, give one another reviews and can set up filters based on preferences.
A woman could decide to ride only with other women, for instance. Users also can block people they don’t want to ride with.
Asked about safety issues at the app’s unveiling at Google’s New York headquarters today, Waze CEO Noam Bardin noted that new technology platforms are increasingly allowing strangers to interact.
“If 10 years ago someone would say [they’re] going to sleep in a stranger’s house on vacation, you would have thought it unbelievable,” he said. “Things do happen. … But think about the millions of people using Airbnb every day—and cooperating.”
Waze Carpool also has been built in a way that prevents a user from turning it into a business. It accommodates only two rides per day. And while it facilitates small payments between riders and drivers to cover the cost of gas, they are set at 54 cents a mile, the limit the IRS will accept as a tax deduction.
Because the vehicle is not being used for a business, the driver’s personal car insurance is all the coverage that’s required.
Waze, founded in Israel and acquired by Google five years ago, envisions the app being used in partnership with municipalities looking to fight congestion and with businesses that want to help employees with their commute.
Bardin said he could imagine a scenario in which carpooling New Yorkers get a break on tolls or the app is used for access to HOV lanes on Brooklyn to Manhattan bridges once the L line shuts down.
For now Waze is not charging for the service and is subsidizing new riders by limiting their fuel-reimbursement cost to $2 a ride for their first three weeks. But Bardin said he expected the company would take a slice of each transaction once the app is used widely enough.
Public School Debuts NYC Taxi Cab-Inspired Mi Electric Scooter
Following an upcycled collection with Nike, Levi’s, Alpha Industries and more, Public School delivers another standout collab, this time with Chinese electronics company Xiaomi, and utilizing the brand’s Mi Electric Scooter.
Evoking Public School’s signature aesthetics, the hi-tech scooter boasts a minimal design with its dark grey/anthracite palette, and highlighted with a checkerboard pattern gracing the frontal tube, along with PSNY branding in contrasting white, and bright red utilized for the scooter’s brake and wheel wiring system.
“We reimagined the Mi Electric Scooter with inspiration from New York City taxi cabs. We are excited for the world to see our take on a scooter we use daily,” said Maxwell Osborne and Dao-Yi Chow of Public School.
Priced at $795 USD, you can purchase this limited edition scooter exclusively at Public School’s new flagship located at 3 Howard Street in New York City, as well as online, beginning October 6.
Flying taxi to travel from Boston to New York in 36 minutes
A private transportation company seeks to offer a new form of travel connecting Boston and New York in under an hour.
Boston-based Transcend Air Corporation is developing the Vy 400, a six-seat, vertical take-off and landing aircraft. “It takes off and lands straight up and down,” the company said of the aircraft’s design. “This means we don’t need runways and airports. We’re able to depart and arrive right in major city centers.”
The company says the prototype can travel more than 400 miles per hour – three times faster than traditional helicopters – cost less to operate and offers a quieter ride than a helicopter.
“The Vy will provide faster, more affordable door-to-door service than either helicopters or conventional airplanes, without the need for airports,” the company said in a statement. “Transcend will deliver service right from major city centers, such as Manhattan and downtown Boston, using VTOL-ready landing pads.”
The company plans to launch commuter services between multiple North American cities in early 2024. Current planned services include: flights connecting New York City and Boston in as little as 36 minutes; Los Angeles and San Francisco in 55 minutes; and Montreal and Toronto in 25 minutes.
Announced prices are comparable to commercial flights between cities: $283 to-and-from Boston; $315 for West Coast flights; and $325 for Canadian travel.
Transcend Air says they hope to expand to dozens more cities in later years.
“This is a necessary and transformative addition to city-to-city transportation options,” Greg Bruell, co-founder and CEO of Transcend said. “It solves multiple problems at once: we’ll take cars off congested roads, reduce pollution around airports, and lower the cost of air transportation while drastically reducing travel times.”
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