Ride Sharing Services Under The Gun

Posted by Sam Churchill on

The battle for control over LA’s streets–and ridesharing competition–reached a head this fall when a major taxi providers in the city–United Independent Taxi Drivers (UITD), filed a lawsuit claiming Lyft, Sidecar and Uber posed unfair competition to the company and have resulted in a “sharp drop” in their taxi business.

The cab company told the LA Weekly it has seen at least a drop of 30 percent in business from weekend club-goers in the South Bay and in West Hollywood.

L.A.’s Department of Transportation ordered the ride-sharing companies to shut down in June. But that order was ignored, both by the ride-sharing companies and by the city. L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti has expressed support for ride-sharing, and argued that taxi companies should keep up with innovation.

Meanwhile Seattle is discussing how to regulate ride-sharing services that have emerged in the last few years as alternatives to taxis and other for hire vehicle services. Companies like Lyft, Sidecar and Uber/Uber-X are being targeted as “unregulated” services.

Flywheel Software sells software to for-hire and other regulated transportation providers in both Seattle and San Francisco. They target taxis, not unregulated ride sharing services.

Real-time ridesharing arranges one-time shared rides on very short notice. It makes use of three recent technological advances:

  • GPS navigation devices to determine a driver’s route and arrange the shared ride
  • Smartphones for a traveler to request a ride from wherever they happen to be
  • Social networks to establish trust and accountability between drivers and passengers

What city will have the first driverless car community in the United States? It could be at Babcock Ranch in Florida — or where I live on Hayden Island, north of Portland, Oregon. Here’s my modest proposal.

Similar to in-vehicle navigation systems, pedestrian navigation systems aim to revolutionize finding in-door locations, notes EE Times.

Sensor Platforms in San Jose, has added Pedestrian Dead Reckoning to its FreeMotion Library of algorithms. Their system uses 10-axis sensor fusion on the data from micro-electro-mechanical system (MEMS) sensors — accelerometers, gyroscopes, magnetometers and barometric pressure sensors (for altitude) — to calculate the distance traveled by a user as well as bearing, working from the last known GPS waypoint.

Other indoor navigation systems require RF receivers that triangulate their location from WiFi router signals or RF beacons, but dead-reckoning systems calculate location by keeping track of the distance and direction they have traveled since the last known waypoint. Sensor Platforms claims its solution provides accuracy within a few percent of the distance traveled from the last known waypoint.

General Motors, Nissan, and Toyota are all racing to develop their own, unique architectures for self-driving cars.

Posted by Sam Churchill on Tuesday, December 17th, 2013 at 1:35 pm .

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