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February 23, 2018
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Transportation

Sidewalk Labs could pilot city-changing tech in Toronto sooner than you think

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Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs smart city subsidiary is working with the city of Toronto to help plan a brand new community, but nothing’s set in stone on that front yet, with a 12-month lead-up period during which they’ll work out the project and make sure all involved agree to move forward. But that doesn’t mean Sidewalk has to wait at least a year to start exploring how some of its work might be applied in practice to Toronto proper and the city’s workings.

On stage at Google’s Go North conference in Toronto today, Sidewalk Labs CEO Dan Doctoroff explained that while the plan to build a model smart city in Toronto in the city’s waterfront Quayside area remains in the preparatory phase, there are other things that Sidewalk can do right now to begin implementing some of its work in the area.

Sidewalk is talking about how to implement these more immediately with the city, and they could include pilots that focus on traffic mitigation (perhaps in the “Queen’s Quay” area, which is also down by the waterfront, Doctoroff said) as well as potentially transplanting some of the ideas it’s experimenting with around health care based on a pilot clinic just opened in NYC.

Doctoroff also referred to a “new transportation flow modelling concept” that Sidewalk believes can be beneficial to public transit agencies immediately, and that could come to Toronto soon.

All of the above ideas are not things specific to the long-term plan to develop the 12-acre piece of land begin called Quaside on a section of Toronto’s Port Lands. In fact, Doctoroff said that in terms of timing for these smaller pilots, “we can start those right now,” or at least “relatively soon.”

News Source = techcrunch.com

Elon Musk says Tesla’s China factory could begin production in roughly three years

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 Tesla officially confirmed its plans to set up a manufacturing facility in China last week, and now we know a bit more about what it’s planning to do in the key market in terms of production. A the time, Tesla wouldn’t say much more beyond that i’s “committed to the Chinese market” and interested in exploring manufacturing facilities around the world. Tesla CEO… Read More

News Source = techcrunch.com

Tesla could upgrade customer computers to meet self-driving requirements

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 Elon Musk had some thoughts to share regarding full autonomy and how the automaker is preparing to deliver this to customers down the road. The company announced that its new vehicles had all the hardware on board they needed to achieve full autonomy last year, and offers customers the options to buy an upgrade that would deliver autonomy via software update once it was available. Read More

News Source = techcrunch.com

How cities can harness the good — and avoid the bad — of the new mobility movement

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In late September, London made headlines when it stripped popular ride-hailing app Uber of its license to operate in the city. The wall-to-wall coverage that followed the decision was a sign, if any more were needed, that we are on the cusp of an urban mobility revolution.

Ride-hailing systems, car- and bicycle-sharing networks, trip-planning apps and other innovative services that capitalize on advances in mobile communications, cashless payments and remote monitoring are increasing in popularity around the world. Users appreciate — and in many places have grown to depend upon — the convenience and flexibility these services offer at a range of prices. The most basic smartphone now means that getting to work or play or an airport at 5am is as easy as tapping the screen.

Faced with this new wave of transportation options enabled by mobile and network technologies, however, many local governments have struggled to adjust. Critics rightly point out that issues with regulations, safety and congestion are far from resolved. And multi-billion-dollar valuations or massive job potential make for exciting headlines, but they obscure the real possibilities of the urban mobility revolution.

Simply put: new mobility may be exciting enough on its own, but where it can be more effectively combined and leveraged with existing public transport options, its potential can be truly transformative.

Indeed, there are clear opportunities to integrate these new mobility services into existing urban transportation systems for more affordable, convenient and environmentally friendly transport for all. There are already more than 70 cities partnering with new private mobility services in part to bolster public transit offerings, while also easing the pressures of rising public transit costs, aging assets and rapidly increasing ridership.

Cities and their residents stand to benefit from new mobility services — if they can understand and avoid the potential pitfalls. In the first-ever global survey of new mobility services, led by the Coalition for Urban Transitions, new analysis shows how cities can evaluate new mobility options and integrate them into their urban transportation systems. There are three specific applications that could benefit from such collaborations.

New mobility services have the potential to complement public transit, but they could also lead to worsening traffic congestion, more vehicle accidents, additional air pollution and other unwelcome effects if not managed carefully.

First, partnering with the developers of dynamic trip-planning and ticketing apps could offer passengers a fully integrated platform for planning and paying for rides. This would make it much simpler for passengers to access whatever may be most convenient, appealing or cost-effective — all through one device. The GoLA app, for instance, helps residents of Los Angeles compare cost, time, calories burned and emissions saved for various transit options ranging from bicycling to bus to private cars. A total of 24 transport service providers are covered, with some already allowing for payment through the app, as well.

Second, integrating electric, on-demand minibuses operated privately with other forms of public transit could help cities maintain or extend coverage in underserved areas while lowering the cost of service. Minibuses play an important role in many fast-growing cities, and companies such as RideCell and TransLoc offer routing platforms that transit agencies could use to run their own on-demand fleets. Doing so would give cities the capability to change routes and capacity on the fly according to fluctuations in passenger demand.

Third, subsidizing shared rides to and from transit hubs in neighborhoods where residents may lack good access to transit options, including lower-income residents or individuals with disabilities. Several programs of this kind are up and running already. A town in New Jersey, for example, expects to save as much $5 million across 20 years by subsidizing shared rides instead of building more parking lots near train stations.

New mobility services have the potential to complement public transit, but they could also lead to worsening traffic congestion, more vehicle accidents, additional air pollution and other unwelcome effects if not managed carefully. And more attention must be paid to ensure that new mobility services meet the actual needs of residents. Overall, though, integrating them properly into existing transit systems is an opportunity cities should seize. We may still be in the early days of the new mobility revolution, but instead of banning the future, we should be creative about how we embrace it.

Featured Image: monicaodo/Getty Images UNDER A monicaodo LICENSE

News Source = techcrunch.com

Tesla predicts production rate of 5K Model 3 cars per week by late Q1 2018

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Tesla went into a bit more detail about the production challenges it faces with the Model 3 in its letter to investors on the heels of its earnings report for Q3 today. We already know that Tesla shipped only 222 Model 2 vehicles during the quarter, since it releases sales numbers earlier than it reports earnings. But we now have some color regarding the manufacturing details that have slowed the pace of production

Tesla says that it’s making progress regarding “early bottlenecks,” and reiterated that there are no “fundamental problems” with its supply chain or processes. It noted, however, that parts of its operation for the Model 3 including drive unit, paint shops and part stamping can produce up to 1,000 units per week during “burst builds of short duration,” but that other aspects including assembly of battery packs and final vehicle assembly are showing only “burst build” capacity of 300 units per week. Those aren’t constant figures, also, as indicated by the burst build language.

The carmaker also noted that its “primary production constraint” related to the assembly of its battery modules at Gigafactory 1, in the process that sees individual cells packed into an aluminum case to make up a battery module. Tesla says that this has taken longer to get up to volume than has been expected due to the complexity of the part design, and the automated assembly process required to put them together.

Tesla says it actually had to bring in-house parts of the process which were previously done by suppliers of its manufacturing systems, and that this also requires a significant redesign to make work. The automaker says it’s “confident” it can grow the rate of this process “substantially in coming weeks” and can even surpass its original specs for rates for this part.

That said, it’s still not entirely confident how long it’ll take for production to ramp, per the letter, noting only that based on its current info it’ll be able to reach a rate of around 5,000 Model 3 cars per week by the end of Q1 next year. It had targeted production of around 1,5000 cars in total during Q3, so it’s way behind its own previous internal targets at this stage.

News Source = techcrunch.com

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