Ford Initiates Open Innovation Approach to Finding Innovative Mobility Solutions; Launches Innovate Mobility Challenge Series

From : @FordOnline

COLOGNE, Germany – Ford today announced the launch of its Innovate Mobility Challenge Series, inviting the developer and ‘maker’ communities to come together to find innovative mobility solutions in eight different locations around the world.

The worldwide challenges will kick off on July 15 in Lisbon, Portugal, Los Angeles, United States, and Mumbai, India, before moving on to Delhi and the Chennai region in India, Shanghai, China, Johannesburg, South Africa, and a countrywide challenge in Argentina.

“Reaching out to local stakeholders lets Ford more effectively address the diverse mobility challenges around the world,” said Paul Mascarenas, Ford’s chief technical officer and vice president, Research and Innovation. “Launching our Innovate Mobility Challenge Series in eight different regions will bring global and local players together in the pursuit of one goal, which is a smarter and more efficient transportation network for the future.”

Ford’s OpenXC program is a non-production, open-source, software and hardware platform designed to encourage top developers to experiment with Do-It-Yourself projects using real-time vehicle data. Developers can use OpenXC data like any other data source in a smartphone, tablet or web app. The Innovate Mobility Challenge Series encourages developers to integrate this real-time vehicle information into apps that relate to sustainability and mobility issues, whether by incorporating the data into existing apps or creating new apps from scratch.

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Faster Cars, Hotter Tech, Fewer Drivers

Author: Alex Marshall

Since the Model-T, Americans have brought cars not only onto their streets, but also into their lives and their homes. Government has been handmaiden to this marriage, building millions of miles of roads, requiring vast seas of parking as a condition of development, and setting up traffic systems like stoplights and left-turn lanes that indicate paved thoroughfares are principally for drivers.

Like all relationships, the one Americans have with their cars evolves. In recent years, it would seem the nation’s long-term romance with the auto is beginning to wane. Stats from a recent U.S. PIRG report say Americans are driving less per capita, particularly young people, who are also getting licensed at a later age. Young people view cars more like refrigerators. That is, like an appliance. They want one, and for it to work reliably, but it’s less a projection of who they are.

Or maybe not. To get a sense of where the car and its potential owner are these days, I stopped in at the New York International Auto Show at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center on Manhattan’s West Side. There, hundreds of cars from dozens of top carmakers were displayed under gleaming lights.

The show — the first I had ever attended — was an interesting mix of old and new school. In retro fashion, pretty ladies in tight dresses stood demurely in front of cars, offering the classic combo of hot woman and hot car. Yet behind this classic facade, there clearly was a ferocious evolution and competition going on under the hood of these cars and in their accessory systems.

Read the full article at http://www.governing.com/columns/eco-engines/gov-faster-cars-hotter-tech-fewer-drivers.html.

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Not One Person Has Died on an NYC Bike-Share Bike

Author: Will Oremus

One year ago, New York City launched a bike-share program, and pundits predicted a safety nightmare.

“The most important danger in the city is not the yellow cabs, it is the bicyclists,” raved the Wall Street Journal’s Dorothy Rabinowitz in a segment titled “Death by Bicycle.” The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart offered a similarly blunt assessment: “A lot of people are going to die.” The bike-share program did give him an idea for a business, though: “Jon Stewart’s Street Brain Material Removal Service.” A Rutgers professor got more specific. In a New York Post story headlined, “Citi Bike ‘Heading’ for a Fall,” he predicted that cyclist fatalities could triple in the program’s first year, from 20 to 60.

It has now been a full year since the first foolhardy tourists began menacing the city’s streets in those fat blue Citi Bike bikes. Riders have taken more than 8.75 million trips so far, Citi Bike reports, travelling some 14.7 million miles in all. Want to guess how many have died?

None.

Read the full article at http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2014/05/30/
nyc_citi_bike_zero_fatalities_in_new_york_city_bike_share_program_s_first.html
.

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Hyundai and Kia make greenest cars, according to Union of Concerned Scientists

Author: Tracy Samilton

Hyundai and Kia made the greenest cars last year, according to an annual ranking by the Union of Concerned Scientists.

The sister Korean companies stole the crown from Honda, which had been No. 1 since 1998.

Researcher Dave Cooke says Hyundai and Kia’s strategy of using smaller, turbo-charged engines is paying off, “and they also added two hybrid electric versions of some of their most popular vehicles, the Hyundai Sonata and Kia Optima.”

The ranking looks at average fuel economy and emissions of the top eight automakers in the U.S.

Read the full article at http://michiganradio.org/post/hyundai-and-kia-make-greenest-cars-according-union-concerned-scientists.

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Does carsharing really reduce overall driving?

Author: Steven T. Jones

At the Share conference that I covered for this week’s Guardian, there were wildly divergent claims for how many vehicles carsharing companies such as City Car Share, Zipcar, and Getaround take off the road. I was also a little skeptical of claims that carsharing dramatically reduces overall driving and greenhouse gas emissions, so I decided to take a deeper look at the issue.

“For every car that is shared, we take seven cars off the road,” Board of Supervisors President David Chiu said during his presentation. The next day Getaround founder and spokesperson Jessica Scorpio cited a study claiming that 32 cars get taken off the road for every shared vehicle.

Luckily, one of the country’s top researchers in this area is right in our backyard. UC Berkeley civil and environmental engineering professor Susan Shaheen heads the school’s Transportation Sustainability Research Center and has been doing peer-reviewed studies on car-sharing for almost 20 years.

Her research, which is consistent with the body of academic research on carsharing from around the world, has found that each shared car takes between nine and 13 other cars off the road, figures that she says are amazingly consistent around the world. That big reduction is because households that have cars tend to get rid of at least one of them when they sign up for carsharing, while car-free households that want access to a car will choose (as Shaheen says is the case for about 25 percent of the people in each group, which adds up to 90,000-130,000 fewer cars on the road nationwide).

Read the full article at http://www.sfbg.com/politics/2014/05/23/does-carsharing-really-reduce-overall-driving.

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A New Parking App That’s Virtually Guaranteed to Stir Up Controversy

Monkey Parking

A map of MonkeyParkers near San Francisco's Financial District on May 21, 2014 (screenshot via MonkeyParking app)

Author: Jenny Xie

Say you’ve been circling around downtown for 20 minutes, hunting for a street parking spot — and failing. At that point, you can keep circling, give up and find a garage, or vow never to take your car into that part of the city again.

In San Francisco and Rome, at least, there’s now another option, and it’s decidedly controversial. With MonkeyParking, an audacious new mobile app from Italy, you can bid for a parking spot already occupied by somebody else. Here’s how it works.

To find parking options, you first drop a pin on the map to broadcast your request for spots nearby and then select how much you’re willing to pay— currently the options start at $5 and go up to $20. People who’ve listed their parked cars on the app will get a notification that someone wants their spot. At that point, they can either accept the bid right away, wait a bit to see if there are higher bids, or ignore it completely if they’re not ready to leave.

In San Francisco last month, MonkeyParking co-founder and CEO Paolo Dobrowolny rented a car to personally test out the service. He put out a request for parking in the SOMA district and offered $5. His bid was promptly accepted by someone who’d been getting ready to leave work. From this sample scenario, you can imagine, say, people listing their parked cars as they prepare to leave a restaurant or the gym.

Read the full article at http://www.citylab.com/commute/2014/05/a-new-parking-app-thats-virtually-guaranteed-to-stir-up-controversy/371268.

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