Fiat partners with uber, Amazon and Google for its automated cars

It is no mystery that most of the major automakers in the world are developing their own version of self driving cars. But it is never easy to get them on road given their cost and safety concerns surrounding them.
So companies tie up with taxi aggregators and delivery service providers like Uber and Amazon. Fiat has expressed its interest as the main supplier of self driving cars for both of them. Uber has already started testing with Ford’s self-driving fusion car in Pittsburgh and now fiat may supply with more numbers. Uber CEO Travis Kalvanick has stated his willingness to buy Tesla cars if they achieve full automation capability. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos while speaking at the code conference stated the lack of delivery options in peak times and holiday season. Having a driverless car fleet will substitute the lack of availability.

However Amazon has its inclination towards drones for delivery of small items and cars only for bigger products.
Fiat has also partnered with Google to test their fleet of self driving cars, this will double the fleet of the company to 200 cars. Fiat will provide 100 Chrysler Pacifia van which will be mounted with Google’s autonomous car technology. Google’s head of self driving cars John Krafcik stated that the opportunity to work with fiat engineers will accelerate their efforts to develop self driving cars. Partnerships of these sorts are bound to increase with automakers trying to choose between Google’s technology and their own in house system.

uber and Lyft for grocery delivery services

Walmart is the largest retailer in the world; Uber and Lyft are the biggest players in network based transportation or gig economy or in many other names by which they are known. Both the companies are aware of the fact that they need to develop better streams of revenue for sustained presence in the industry and both the companies have fierce competition in the market. Walmart has competition in grocery sector from Target, Costco and now the latest being Amazon online grocery services called Amazon fresh. Uber and Lyft are fierce rivals and they have competitors coming up every day in every part of the world.

These companies are collaborating to provide grocery delivery services, Walmart announced this during their annual shareholder’s meeting. In select locations Walmart will introduce this feature through which the customers can place their orders online. Personalized shopper will collect the items and will transport it through uber or Lyft. The customer will not be interacting with anyone throughout the process and will be sent notifications regarding the time and location of delivery.

Each delivery will cost around $7 to $10 for the customer. The cost is affordable given the hustle involved in going to a grocery shop buying and coming back home. The details regarding the partnership is yet to be announced, like how much uber or Lyft will be paid per delivery and which locations it will be offering the services. Walmart has the advantage of being present in 5,000 locations across U.S which will make its delivery service faster and efficient compared to other similar services.

Autonomous cars are soon going to hit the street

The San Francisco based online multinational transportation company Uber announced about their driverless cars. The company also had set up an Advanced Technology Center in Pittsburg to build the self driving car. On June 14th, 2016 the Chief Producer officer at Uber, Jeff Holden spoke at the conference about the driverless cars and said that the ride sharing company will launch their service sooner than the expected time period. The self driving cars are not replaced the drivers because the autonomous car service will hail only in some cities and thus the drivers who are working with the company need not worry about the new feature. The ride sharing giant hired software developers from the National Robotics Engineering center, Carnegie Mellon University to build the self driving cars.

In May, the app based company did a test ride with the driverless Ford Fusion car on the roads of Pittsburg. The officials in the past said that they ran the test ride to make sure that the technological implementation was correct and also to check whether everyone on the road like the cyclist, pedestrians and other drivers were safe. The ride sharing company partnered with the Japanese automaker, Toyota Motors earlier this year. This partnership will speed up the process of developing the driverless cars and launching the service for public transport because many other car makers in the industry have partnered with other ride sharing companies to develop driverless cars. The main target of the company is to provide reliable service for the customers in lower price.

Rides can book their Uber ride in advance

The ride sharing company offers the riders to schedule their rides well in advance. The Head of the product at Uber, Russell Dicker said that many riders wished to book an Uber ride in advance so that they can have an assurance that they can ride back home without any worries. The Scheduled ride feature is introduced in Seattle and the company said that they will expand the feature in other cities as well. The business customers and people who have a business profile are given the first preference in the scheduled rides. During the scheduled ride, the riders can book the ride half an hour before they ride to thirty days in advance from their mobile app. The riders can select their preferred trip time, the pickup point and the destination. They will receive an advance notification twenty four hours before their ride and they will receive their second notification half an hour before the ride.

They can modify the location or they can cancel their ride thirty minutes before their ride.
When there is a surge pricing while the driver leaves for dispatch, the riders will get the notification about the surge price. Then the riders have 5 minutes to decide on whether to ride the cab with surge price or cancel the trip without paying any fine. Lyft was the first ride sharing company to introduce the Scheduled ride feature and launched a test ride in San Francisco before offering the service in other cities. The only difference between both the services is that Lyft allows the riders only to schedule the ride only to a maximum of twenty four hours.

Relationship between GV and Uber

In 2013 Uber received three hundred million dollars funds from the Google Ventures. Both the tech company and the ride sharing company are working together to build the autonomous automobiles. But when Google’s parent company Alphabet’s senior Vice President David Drummond joined the ride sharing company’s board, since then they ramped up the driverless car designing. In a recent conference the CEO of Google Ventures, Bill Maris said that the relationship between both the companies is healthy and that the ride sharing company is working with Google Maps to improve their navigational feature. He also said that when two big companies partner together they will either compete or cooperate with each other’s business. Google Ventures CEO plans to meet with the ride sharing company’s senior Vice President of business Emily Michael and the CEO Travis Kalanick.

Last year, many top rank employees from Google moved to Uber like Christoff, who supervised former Google CEO and managed the East coast team, the communication head Rachel Whetstone, Manik Gupta worked with Google Maps, Google Express founder Tom Fallows. So Bill Maris said that he has many of his old friends in the ride sharing company. The app based company’s stocks that were bought by the Google Ventures are not sold in the market. The officials from the company said that they do not have any plans to sell the transportation company’s stock. GV CEO said that the transportation company has the potential to widen their network and transform the transportation service but are not aware of their strength.

Uber is going to launch a hotline to reach their service

America’s leading ride sharing company joined with the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) and tested a pilot program in which people without the smartphone can call the hotline and book the Uber service. The senior planner at the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority, Christopher Cochran said that the pilot program is a local program that will benefit the low income citizens who do not possess a car or who are unable to access the transit system in their area. Apart from gaining customers, the company will become the next public transit.

The spokesperson of Transit Center, Jacob Anbinder said that if the online ride sharing company is planning to move into the public sector and wish to cover the people who do not have a smartphone or the mobile app, they have to offer more to attract the vast crowd. Pinellas County was the first county to subsidize the ride sharing company to hail rides to and from the bus stations to make their transit system accessible to the people. According to the pilot plan the residents who do not have access to the transit will be given a taxpayer subsidized ride by the company every month to trip within the service area during the daytime when the residents have an emergency situation. The PSTA received three hundred thousand dollar funds and they will use it for the new program. And the ride sharing company will provide the software for the call-in feature.

The PSTA reached out to Uber service after they fail in building a light rail system to reach the bus service station. The ride sharing company and the transit authority of Pinellas County will launch the new pilot plan on July 8th, 2016.

Investors join together to compete against Uber

One of the ride sharing companies is trying to compete against its global competitor and in talks with the investors to raise one billion dollar. The leading online transportation company in India is the OlaCabs which is known as Ola, Uber is trying to beat Ola in its own country. The existing investors of the Indian ride sharing company are Sequoia Capitals, DLT Global and SoftBank are participating to raise money against Uber. And two more investors from the United States have come forward to fund the company. Didi is the global investor and collaborator of Ola and they will also join the other investors to compete against the rival American company. This will indirectly build a competition between the two tech giants Apple and Google because the tech company Apple invested one billion dollars in Didi while Google’s investment group Google Ventures invested funds for the American ride sharing giant in 2013.

The SoftBank is the common investor for the Indonesian car hailing company Grabtaxi, Lyft, Ola and Didi is a major source to compete against Uber. This is the first attempt of the Indian company to raise funds against the rival company because they plan to spend their funds in India. The American ride sharing giant received $3.5 billion from the Saudi Arabia and the company’s President for India, Amit Jain said that the company has a fifty percent market share in India and they are planning to invest their recent funds in the country to become the market giant in India. A ride sharing company that has more number of drivers and riders becomes the ultimate winner in the industry and both the ride sharing companies Uber and Ola have the same business model and are having the same space. So the company that increases its market among the drivers and riders becomes the winner

Ride sharing company turned towards the leveraged loan market

The ride sharing company is moving to the leveraged loan market and is giving the debt instead of their shares, this shows that the app based company can increase more revenue without diluting the holdings provided the investors. The company is now turning into a new source for money in exchange for something apart from the equity. The ride sharing company which is spending more in India and China to beat their local competitors Ola and Did Chuxing is not short of money but is short of the equity. And the company’s CEO said that they have lost one billion dollars in China, which is because of the debt investors and not the company. So a company that has to pay the loans has to make more rather than losing it.

The company, which plans to become a global giant requires more cash inflow, but selling the equity is a bit costly for the ride sharing company, so they are planning to turn to the leveraged loan market. Sources said that the company hired Barclays and Morgan Stanley to sell the leverage loan of one billion dollar to two billion dollars to the institutional investors. The experts said that the leveraged loan is similar to the junk bonds, which are of high risk but they yield higher returns, so if the company is planning to sell a debt they have to pay back for that debt. To increase the company’s revenue they are trying to hire more drivers to work for them, so they launched an auto financing scheme. Sources close to the ride sharing company said that they will raise fifteen million dollars from the equity and debt.

Uber takes on car rental industry

Uber has received $1 billion loan from Goldman Sachs as loan to support its car lease program for its drivers. The company’s subsidiary unit Xchange leasing offers subprime leases to drivers who are cleared by uber to drive but do not have credit cars to buy cars, it was started in July 2015. This is a part of the company’s vehicular solution program which was developed after the company realized that many drivers has cars too old which did not comply with their standards. Apart from Xchange the company offers discounts when purchasing from certain automakers and deals with financing and rental agencies.

A driver who seeks Xchange program has to pay 250 for lease and weekly payments of 126 is directly deduced in their payments. Xchange offers unlimited mileage, tire rotations, oil changes and air filter replacement. The drivers can return vehicles within two weeks after their first payment. A driver’s credit score will not be damaged by the early termination of the lease instead of the three year term.

Xchange is the last option for people who have bad credit scores even though they are costly than the traditional financing solutions. The risk is with the one who is funding and of course it does not fall on Uber but more on the investors. The $1 billion loan was provided at an undisclosed rate of interest. Apart from Goldman Sachs the other financiers are Citigroup, Deutsche bank, JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley and Sun Trust

Why uber for healthcare is not feasible?

We often hear uber for various services, the meaning of this is offering a service on demand. Today one can get accountants to movies whenever they wish to. However this generalization is not applicable to healthcare. One cannot create an Uber for healthcare. Everyone knows the lengthy procedure of calling a doctor 2 weeks in advance for appointments and waiting a minimum of 30 minutes to meet them. This may seem cumbersome and too traditional in the Uberized life. But one should understand healthcare is a humane and repetitive service which cannot be instant. It is not just a one time transaction. A good health care system relies on the strength of the relationship between patient and the primary physician.

We already have telemedicine and urgent care clinics and standalone ERs which are not associated with any hospital. They are all suitable for minor issues such as sprain etc. Of course there are certain problems in the current system. But uberizing it is not solution rather the roots of the system have to be changed. Barriers between patients and front-door of the hospital should be removed. The reason for primary physicians not spending enough time with patients comes from the fact that they need to spend incredible amount of time with the insurance procedure. Insurance companies pay physicians based on the number of transaction not based on the stuff they do. The fault is in the system of U.S healthcare which treats medical profession as business.