Full self-driving vehicles aren’t exactly around the corner, despite what Elon Musk has promised. Uber’s EV dreams and promises are proving more difficult to implement, so they are working with Arrival and Uber drivers to design the ideal ridesharing vehicle. Senior RSG contributor Paula Gibbins goes over all this and more in this week’s roundup.
Tesla told the California DMV Elon Musk exaggerated Full Self-Driving timeline [Engadget]
Summary: Tesla employees have privately admitted Elon Musk overstated when the company’s Autopilot driver-assist system will have full autonomous capabilities. PlainSite has shared a memo (via The Verge) detailing a teleconference meeting representatives from Tesla, including director of Autopilot software CJ Moore, took with the California DMV on March 9th, 2021.
The agency asked those employees to speak to various aspects of Tesla’s Autopilot software, including the Full Self-Driving beta expansion that occured around that time. But the most interesting portion is the DMV’s questions about how Musk has described Autopilot.
“Tesla is at Level 2 currently. The ratio of driver interaction would need to be in the magnitude of 1 or 2 million miles per driver interaction to move into higher levels of automation. Tesla indicated that Elon is extrapolating on the rates of improvement when speaking about L5 capabilities. Tesla couldn’t say if the rate of improvement would make it to L5 by end of calendar year.”
There’s a lot to unpack there. Level 5 (L5) autonomy involves a car driving independently in any condition and without human supervision. At Level 2, Autopilot has a long way to go before it offers anywhere near that kind of functionality. As a Tesla owner, you still need to keep your hands on the wheel and attention on the road when you enable Autopilot….
My Take: The idea man of every company is going to overstate things like this, so it’s really not a shock that Musk promised the moon and hasn’t quite gotten there yet. However, I do think he and Tesla are the closest to completing this mission. They are also, in my opinion, the most likely to get there faster and safer than any other company attempting this feat.
It’s just like those science fiction movies and books where something wild and crazy happens or is invented, or just part of daily life, where the rest of us living in the present are like, nah, that’ll never happen, but it’s actually happening. It’s definitely an exciting time to be alive and it’s thrilling to see what technology is being invented day by day.
That being said, I have always thought, and will continue to think for a long time, that public perception of driverless vehicles will be one of the biggest hurdles. Public perception will be even more difficult to overcome than any technology questions or problems that arise.
Uber and Arrival partner to create an EV for ride-hail drivers [Tech Crunch]
Summary: Arrival, the electric vehicle manufacturer that’s attempting to do away with the assembly line in favor of highly automated microfactories, is partnering with Uber to create an EV for ride-hail drivers.
Arrival expects to reveal the final vehicle design before the end of the year and to begin production in the third quarter of 2023. Uber drivers have been invited to contribute to the design process to ensure the vehicles are built to suit their needs.
Uber is trying to make good on a promise it made last year to become a fully electric mobility platform by 2025 in London, 2030 in North America and Europe and platform-wide by 2040. The company recently launched Uber Green, which gives passengers the opportunity to select an EV at no extra cost and drivers a chance to pay a lower service fee, part of an $800 million initiative to get more drivers in EVs….
My Take: Ok, so, I just recently started watching The Simpsons for the first time ever (I know, I know, it’s ridiculous it took me this long), and I can’t help but think of the episode where Homer realizes he has a half brother who is rich and his half brother puts Homer in charge of creating the perfect vehicle for everyday men without realizing just how ridiculous it could end up being.
Every driver is going to have their own ideas—likely conflicting—on what an electric car should be able to do and what features it should have. It is good news that Arrival thinks it’ll be able to create these vehicles quicker and with fewer environmental costs than other companies, but it won’t really matter much unless that savings is passed along to the drivers. I think I can safely say, most of us are looking for a deal while also being able to get a car that will last a full day of driving before needing a charge.
Why Every Uber or Lyft Driver Needs Rideshare Insurance [Time]
Summary: Driving for a rideshare company like Uber and Lyft is one of the most popular side hustles out there. After a quick application process, you can start accepting rides through the easy-to-use app.
But there’s one topic all drivers must educate themselves about first: rideshare insurance.
When you drive for a rideshare company, you’re operating as an independent contractor and are essentially launching your own solo business. All businesses take on various forms of risk, and as a rideshare driver, you must be mindful of the damages and health expenses that can occur after getting in an accident.
Rideshare companies provide some level of insurance, but there are almost always gaps in coverage, experts say. “If someone is driving on behalf of Uber, they can experience periods where they aren’t covered,” says Charlie Wendland, head of claims at Branch insurance. “That’s a risk a lot of people aren’t aware of.”…
My Take: GET RIDESHARE INSURANCE!! Unless your state requires commercial insurance, it shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg to get a rideshare endorsement added to your insurance. Not only can your insurance company drop you if they find out you’re a rideshare driver without having that extra insurance, Uber/Lyft and your insurance could deny you claims if you get into an accident during a time period that Uber/Lyft don’t cover that rideshare coverage would.
It used to be that only one or two insurance companies in any given market would cover rideshare drivers, but now we have so many options to choose from and it’s typically easy to add it. When I started driving in Minneapolis/St. Paul I was only able to get Farmer’s because they were the only one that would offer a rideshare endorsement. Now, I have State Farm because I was able to get a better rate overall, and they started allowing rideshare endorsements as well.
Check with your insurance company and others in the area to see what a rideshare endorsement would run and choose the option that’s best for you. It’s better than getting kicked off your insurance altogether, and it really shouldn’t break the bank.
Fast Forward – Curb Your Disruption — Greg Lindsay chats with Gene Oh [LinkedIn]
Summary: The days of docklessness and drop-off-and-pick-up from anywhere are numbered. Greg Lindsay chats with Tranzito’s Gene Oh about “curbside mobility hubs” and a new generation of transit infrastructure offering mobility-as-a-service from the ground-up rather than the top-down….
My Take: It’s a fun talk on this podcast about the shared bike system, commuting and getting people moving again now that things are finding a more “normal” footing. One thing they discuss is the hybrid work from home/work in the office models that may be implemented short-term or long-term. Also considering the implications of these hybrid work models and how it might affect public transit systems and routes.
The guest speaker Gene Oh focused a lot on the technology of our day and how it has evolved from the 60s to where we’re at now. He also spoke about the infrastructure of curbside mobility is evolving and what is to come. Take a listen!
What future do you see for curbside mobility such as e-scooters and dockless bikes? What future do you see for EVs and autonomous vehicles?
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-Paula @ RSG