Self-driving car will make trip from San Francisco to New York City

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It’s all of the road trip and none of the driving — at least, not by a human.

An autonomous car, developed by Michigan-based Delphi Automotive, will begin a 3,500-mile trip across the U.S. on March 22. Beginning in San Francisco, the car is expected to arrive in New York about a week later.

“We’re going to learn a lot out of this,” Jeff Owens, Delphi’s chief technology officer, told The Associated Press.

There will be a person behind the wheel at all times, but they are not expected to intervene at all unless the autonomous car gets into trouble.

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Savaree – Pakistan’s first Car Pooling Mobile Application is here!

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Savaree is one such application that was developed in two days by Madeeha Hassan and Qasim Zafar at Lahore Hackathon, 2014. After winning the competition, they both decided to take on the project further instead of letting it go to recycle bin. As it’s said the first step is the most difficult but Madeeha and Qasim had bravely taken the initiative and vowed to release the application very soon. The beta version of the application was released in a few days and received brilliant response from the users. The team expanded with the addition of Faisal Basra, Zuhaira Farooq & Ahmad Jabbar. They all worked day at night to bring the idea to life.

You might have guessed that “Savaree” has something to do with vehicles, a taxi service maybe. Not really, but you’re close. Let’s consider this scenario; You want to go to Islamabad, but you have a conveyance problem? What you do? You either go on Daeewoo or ask a friend to help you out. Wouldn’t it be great if your smartphones tells you who is going to Islamabad around you. Yes, Savaree app comes to your rescue in all such daily situations. You can check the application to see if someone has the same destination and then you can contact them to get a ride. The application not only saves you money and time but also let’s you meet new people. If you are worried about the security don’t worry ‘Savaree’ team has thought about the issue and all the ‘Savaree’ users have to share their NIC number in order to get registered for the app.

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Savaree recently won 3rd prize in LUMS Entrepreneurship Challenge and they will be visiting the Foundation Council in order to enroll in LUMS Center for Entrepreneurship Program. As the app is comparatively new, it might take a while (and maybe some promotion) for it to gain a user-base big enough that one could easily find a ride or passenger on their route whenever one wants. People might be a little hesitant to use such a service but we think that the security is well covered, as details of each Savaree are documented. Further more since the app lets you get in touch with the other party you can always ask a few questions for your own satisfaction. All of it happens with a secure layer of trust between the driver and the rider.

Whether you have a vehicle and wouldn’t mind some company while going somewhere, or you need a ride to reach some place, you can benefit from this app. So what are you waiting for? Give Savaree a try and tell us your experience in comments below.

As TrueCar IPOs, The Fuelist Launches Classic Car Pricing App

TrueCar’s public offering on Friday showed that investors are willing to back a service bringing price clarity to new car buyers — and the founders of The Fuelist are hoping that same appetite for price clarity will drive demand for their vintage car and motorcycle pricing service.

People spend a lot of money on classic cars worldwide; with one English dentist set to receive a roughly $168 million payout for his collection of 450 classic cars. Roughly $13 billion changes hands between classic car collectors worldwide, according to Fuelist co-founder Thomas Rand-Nash.

According to a recent article in The Economist, the pace of investment in luxury vintage cars is rising faster than any other luxury asset. It’s no secret that rich investors are finding new things to speculate on and classic cars seem to be as good a place as any to park a few thousand (or a few million).

The Fuelist offers a way for buyers and sellers to compare pricing for vintage cars worldwide. A user can select from hundreds of different car makers and models to find the sales prices for a particular style of vehicle… or a range of prices for different cars. On Monday, the company will submit a mobile version of its online service through the iPhone app store, according to Rand-Nash.

Even private equity funds are creating strategies to invest in classic cars — and with the advent of an institutional investment community collectors or investors could find that the stock of “cherry” cars could be gone in 60 seconds.

Fuelist has spent the past several months in a private beta for its first 1,000 users, according to Rand-Nash, a serial entrepreneur who previously co-founded the mobile app development company Mobile Genius LLC with his Fuelist partner Matthew Hamilton.

Rand-Nash envisions several revenue streams for The Fuelist. At a basic level the company will be charging subscriptions for access to its business intelligence and analytics around car pricing and the best place to sell a vehicle. For investors or institutions, the company will offer comparable pricing tools so that a user can find a range of different vehicles sellign at a similar price point.

The company is majority owned by the OTC Bulletin Board listed The Chancellor Group, a conglomerate which owns both oil and gas and technology and media properties, according to Rand-Nash.

Wary of regulatory hurdles, Uber is registered as a travel agency in Japan

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Tak Shiohama, president of Uber Japan, led a well-attended talk at the 9th Samurai Venture Summit this past weekend. At the event, organized by Samurai Incubate and held in Microsoft’s Tokyo office, Shiohama gave some insight into how Uber Japan avoided regulatory fights, modified the service for the Japan market, and how Uber might expand outside of Tokyo. Uber arrived in Tokyo last November and has been working to expand its market share ever since.

During the question-and-answer session, Shiohama revealed how Uber Japan managed to avoid some of the regulatory battles that have plagued its launches in other countries. “Generally speaking, prior to launching, Uber examines the local regulations very thoroughly to determine if there is a problem or not, after careful talks with the local government,” he said (translation ours). In America, this has resulted in Uber filing with the SEC as a non-specific “Other Technology” company. For Japan, however, Shiohama stated, “After talking with various government agencies in Japan it was determined that we could offer the service…in fact, in Japan we are registered as a travel agency. And as a travel agency we provide car service to customers who hire us.”

Regarding potential further expansion outside of Tokyo, Shiohama said, “While America is getting ready to expand into cities with populations of only 200,000 to 300,000…for the Japan countryside, although the need [for Uber] might exist, the key question is not whether or not there is need but whether or not local conditions can support our service platform.”

Uber is sure to face some stiff competition in Tokyo. Local taxi services are similarly priced and have long been celebrated for their top-notch service. However, if Uber adds Tokyo to its list of success stories, then citizens in Japan’s other metropolises will have something to look forward to in the near future.

Fly6 Cycle Camera Lets Drivers Know It’s Watching Them So They Drive Better

In London’s accident & emergency hospital departments, among some more black-humored staffers, cyclists are colloquially known as ‘organ donors’, or so the story goes. Running the gauntlet of HGV lorries and angry four-wheeled commuters is no joke though. Many urban cyclists in the U.K. capital and elsewhere already arm themselves with helmet cameras with the aim of capturing footage of dangerous driving they encounter on their commute — a quick search for ‘cycle helmet camera‘ brings up some 346,000 results on YouTube.

But strapping on a helmet cam is generally a passive use of the technology with no clear flag for drivers that they are being filmed (unless they specifically know what to look out for). And therefore little chance of positively influencing driving behavior before the bad stuff happens — i.e. by making motorists take more care around cyclists in the first place.

One recent example of a technology startup we covered aiming to do more to flag up cyclists’ presence on the road, and therefore positively influence the behaviour of the vehicles around them, is the laser-light projecting Blaze project — which took part in TC’s CES battlefield back in January. And recently pulled in $500k in seed funding.

Well, here’s another attempt to get drivers to drive better, this time from an Australian startup that’s currently raising funds for its device, the Fly6, on Kickstarter.

The Fly6 is not using projected light to flag up the cyclist’s position to drivers, but is using flashing lights to draw attention to a prominent camera lens incorporated into a bike taillight, to let drivers know they are being filmed and therefore police their behaviour for the better (or so they hope).

The device incorporates an HD camera lens into a red taillight that attaches to the seat post of the bike and has a ring of flashing LEDs that are designed to draw the driver’s eye to the camera lens. The Fly6 philosophy: drivers that know they are being watched behave better.

Whether that ring of lights is a clear enough signal to drivers that the bike ahead of them is effectively a mobile CCTV unit remains to be seen. But the Fly6′s designers have drawn a fair amount of interest on Kickstarter, passing their $95,000 AUS funding goal, with more than $158,000 AUD raised from some 1,110 backers so far and still 20 days left of their campaign to run. Early bird price-pledges have been bagged, with the device now started at $129 AUD, with an estimated shipping schedule of May.

The Fly6 will ship with an 8GB micro SD card, to allow for two hours of continuous recording until a looping function kicks in and overwrites previously recorded footage in 15 minute chunks. If you want to be able to record for longer, a 16GB micro SD card will allow for around fours’ hours; and a 32GB card eight (although that exceeds battery run time). The Fly6′s lithium ion battery is rechargeable via USB and apparently good for 5+ hours of runtime.

Does the Fly6 accurately capture number plates? It can but it’s not guaranteed, say its makers — it’s dependent on road/weather conditions etc. But really, the primary point of the camera is to avoid the need to harvest any number plates by making drivers think twice about cutting up cyclists in the first place.

Amazon To Look Into Deliveries By Self-Driving Car

Just kidding.

But since Jeff Bezos is going to pull his April Fool’s Day jokes early for traffic, then so will we. Because quite honestly, ’twas the night before Cyber Monday, and all through the house, every creature was stirring, posting to Twitter about Amazon considering deliveries throughdrone.

Bezos could have picked any trendy technology to get his company’s name in the news and entice tech blogs with easy traffic: He could have said that Amazon was now accepting Bitcoin, or orders through Google Glass, or 3D printing your deliveries of baby wipes and socks. But instead he chose Prime Air.

Drones have a number of hurdles to overcome before hitting the mainstream, namely how to avoid wires and trees and how to build optimal landing sites. Bezos himself admitted that commercial drones were restricted by the FAA until 2015, but in the same breath he said that the company “had no choice” but to use drones – whatever that means.

Confession: I bought an Amazon Prime subscription yesterday and spent $150 on orders. Seriously, I was checking Amazon.com to see if there was any drone stuff on it, and thought, “Well, while I’m here I might as well get that coat rack I’ve been desperately needing …”

Amazon PR tells me that last Cyber Monday their customers ordered a record-breaking 306 items per second. “We hope to exceed that this year,” representative Julie Law wrote, but would not reveal details as to whether they did, on further inquiry, or whether the drone thing increased traffic to the site.

Based on my pure anecdotal experience and spend, and this Wired article, I think that Amazon and Bezos should straight up win the award for best PR stunt ever for this drone thing, and I am not alone. Hell, even UPS and FedEx thought the marketing gimmick waslucrative enough to fast follow.

At least self-driving cars already have a lot of the infrastructure they need to function, i.e. roads already built. Drones, not so much. But props to Bezos for being a master of the press spin. Tomorrow I’m going to announce that TechCrunch.com will only be available on Oculus Rift.

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-Courtesy: Techcrunch

Rocket Internet continues its tear through Asia with the launch of vehicle classifieds platform Carmudi

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Rocket Internet, the self-proclaimed “world’s largest incubator,” announced the official launch of Carmudi, a platform for buying and selling new and used vehicles, today at TechCrunch Disrupt Europe 2013.

The platform works exactly as one might expect – users can optimize their search for the perfect set of wheels by specifying vehicle types (car, motorbike, etc), price range, make and model, year built, and other variables. Sellers, meanwhile, have personalized pages where all their vehicles for sale are listed. Users can rate sellers according to their quality of service and reliability, and Rocket Internet claims it’s implemented first-class practices to prevent fraud.

CarmudiTwoCarmudi has currently been in private launch for the past few months in Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Myanmar, and was previously available in some of these regions under different monikers. Rocket intends to roll out the service into more parts of Asia in the coming months.

The website marks Rocket Internet’s second move into the online classifieds space in Asia. Just three weeks ago the company officially launched Lamudi, an online real estate classifieds website, in 13 countries including Myanmar, Saudi Arabia, and Bangladesh.

Rocket Internet has endured both momentous highs and unsettling lows during its tenure in Asia. E-commerce sites Zalora and Lazada have taken the continent by storm and played a huge role in helping the company net $1.3 billion in funding over the course of this year so far. But the company’s taken hits too. Last July it closed down Southeast Asian operations for OfficeFab, an office supply vendor, and a year before that its venture in furniture Home24 met a similar fate.

-Courtesy: Techinasia