Navigation can be tricky for a live human being, so it’s no wonder Waymo’s autonomous vehicles are finding it hard to navigate a dead-end street in San Francisco. Maybe vehicles aren’t going to take over our jobs quite yet! This news and more in this week’s roundup with senior RSG contributor Paula Gibbins.
Waymo’s autonomous vehicles keep getting stuck in a dead-end street in San Francisco (The Verge)
Summary: Traffic is hell, but what if the cars clogging up the roadways are all robots? That’s what some residents on one quiet street in San Francisco have discovered, with a seemingly endless parade of autonomous vehicles from Waymo driving down a dead-end street in the city’s residential Richmond district, turning around, and driving away.
“There are some days where it can be up to 50,” resident Jennifer King told KPIX 5 in this hilarious scene report. “It’s literally every five minutes. And we’re all working from home, so this is what we hear.”
Residents are confused as to why the Waymo vehicles — Jaguar I-Pace SUVs with rooftop sensors and high-tech compute systems inside — keep coming, one after the other, sometimes two or three at a time. They aren’t picking up or dropping off customers, despite Waymo recently announcing that it was going to start shuttling passengers around San Francisco….
My Take: I would definitely be one of those people tracking just how many of these vehicles drive by my house every day and have to turn around and find their way back out. It just sounds too funny.
Luckily these cars still have humans behind the wheel to get them out of sticky situations, otherwise who knows how many of those cars would literally be stuck in that dead-end street?
Head of Uber Freight says the U.S. is in a ‘shipping Armageddon’ and there’s no one solution (CNBC)
Summary: The head of Uber Technologies’ logistics division told CNBC’s Jim Cramer on Thursday there’s no single solution to the country’s trucking crisis.
“It really requires the entire industry because we are facing just unprecedented times. We’re literally living in a shipping Armageddon,” Uber Freight chief Lior Ron said in an interview on “Mad Money.”
Uber Freight, which launched in 2017, uses an app to connect shippers who need loads hauled with available truck drivers, operating as a middle man in a crucial part of the U.S. economy. There’s more than 1 million drivers now on the Uber Freight network, according to Ron.
While Ron argued Uber Freight can make aspects of long-haul trucking more efficient, he cautioned that it alone will not alleviate the industry’s challenges, such as the driver shortage that’s been exacerbated by the Covid crisis.
“We can definitely make a dent with technology — and we are — but it requires more,” Ron said. “Some of it also is about wages,” he added, noting the job can be challenging and some people want to prioritize being close to family….
My Take: I think the last point above is the key. The pandemic made us all realize that we can change our priorities at the drop of a hat. Several people moved closer to family, were let go from jobs and had to readjust their career paths, or lost loved ones.
Open road trucking is a tough life, especially if you have family you want to spend more time with instead of less. It wouldn’t surprise me if a lot of truckers sang a different tune once the pandemic hit, wanting to stay home with loved ones, especially if someone close to them contracted the virus.
From the sounds of it, most sectors are suffering due to lack of workers. Life-changing circumstances make us all rethink what is most important and what would make us happy.
DoorDash Launches Advertising Platform For Brands of All Sizes, With New Self-Serve Capabilities Designed For Restaurants (DoorDash)
Summary: Today, DoorDash is announcing a suite of advertising offerings that will allow restaurants and brands of all sizes, from local merchants to global brands, to reach new customers and grow their business on the DoorDash marketplace. From existing offerings including promotions in the Offers Hub and homepage banners, to new solutions including the launch of Sponsored Listings, there are multiple tools available for brands to get in front of their customers all the way through to the point of sale.
The centerpiece of these offerings for our restaurant partners is DoorDash’s self-serve Sponsored Listings, designed to help local restaurants increase their visibility, generate orders, and find their next customer. The differentiating feature of DoorDash’s Sponsored Listings is that Merchants pay only for orders placed via their ad and not for ad clicks or impressions.
My Take: The only surprising thing here is that this hasn’t been happening since day one on this platform. Advertising is such a basic way to earn money and help the restaurants get out there more. It’s really a win-win for both DoorDash and the partner restaurants.
They met when they shared an Uber. Now, four years later, they’re married. (Washington Post)
Summary: Mark DeSantis and Rachel Chazanovitz were separately out with friends in South Boston celebrating Halloween in 2017. They had never met.
Shortly after midnight, they simultaneously ordered an UberPool — a ride-share option that offers a cheaper fare to passengers headed in the same direction. They both wanted to avoid Halloween surge pricing.
DeSantis, then 29, got into the car first, he recalled. When he realized he was the only passenger, he thought to himself, “This is amazing, I’m going straight home.”
A few minutes later, though, his luck ran out — or so he thought. The Uber driver pulled over to pick up another passenger. It was Chazanovitz, dressed from head to toe as a Dalmatian. Wearing a black-and-white polka dot dress with a red collar, she locked eyes with DeSantis, and her initial reaction was disappointment.
“We were both so upset that there was another person in the car,” Chazanovitz, then 27, said. Her second thought, she recalled, was: “He was not dressed up. I went all out, and he’s just in complete regular clothes.”
She teased DeSantis about his Halloween costume — or the lack thereof. The conversation quickly turned flirtatious. “We were really hitting it off,” DeSantis said….
My Take: I know this isn’t really news, but it is a cute story. Definitely not the normal way to meet your future spouse, but it’s nice to hear stories like this. It’s not all doom and gloom. There is happiness in the world.
Where did you meet your significant other? Would you ever give your number to someone you shared an Uber with?
-Paula @ RSG