Uber Hires Veteran NASA Engineer to Develop Flying Cars

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In 2010, an advanced aircraft engineer at NASA’s Langley Research Center named Mark Moore published a white paper outlining the feasibility of electric aircrafts that could take off and land like helicopters but were smaller and quieter. The vehicles would be capable of providing a speedy alternative to the dreary morning commute.

Moore’s research into so-called VTOL — short for vertical takeoff and landing, or more colloquially, flying cars — inspired at least one billionaire technologist. After reading the white paper, Google co-founder Larry Page secretly started and financed two Silicon Valley startups, Zee Aero and Kitty Hawk, to develop the technology, Bloomberg Businessweek reported last summer.

Now Moore is leaving the confines of the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, where he has spent the last 30 years, to join one of Google’s rivals: Uber Technologies Inc. Moore is taking on a new role as director of engineering for aviation at the ride-hailing company, working on a flying car initiative known as Uber Elevate. “I can’t think of another company in a stronger position to be the leader for this new ecosystem and make the urban electric VTOL market real,” he says.

Radical Vision for Airborne Commutes

Uber isn’t constructing a flying car yet. In its own white paper published last October, the company laid out a radical vision for airborne commutes and identified technical challenges it said it wanted to help the nascent industry solve, like noise pollution, vehicle efficiency and limited battery life. Moore consulted on the paper and was impressed by the company’s vision and potential impact.

Moore acknowledged that many obstacles stand in the way, and they’re not only technical. He says each flying car company would need to independently negotiate with suppliers to get prices down, and lobby regulators to certify aircrafts and relax air-traffic restrictions. But he says Uber, with its 55 million active riders, can uniquely demonstrate that there could be a massive, profitable and safe market. “If you don’t have a business case that makes economic sense, than all of this is just a wild tech game and not really a wise investment,” Moore says.

Uber’s vision is a seductive one, particularly for sci-fi fans. The company envisions people taking conventional Ubers from their homes to nearby “vertiports” that dot residential neighborhoods. Then they would zoom up into the air and across town to the vertiport closest to their offices. (“We don’t need stinking bridges!” says Moore.) These air taxis will only need ranges of between 50 to 100 miles, and Moore thinks that they can be at least partially recharged while passengers are boarding or exiting the aircraft. He also predicts we’ll see several well-engineered flying cars in the next one to three years and that there will be human pilots, at least managing the onboard computers, for the foreseeable future.

His move to Uber is a risky one. Moore says he’s leaving NASA one year before he’s eligible for retirement and walking away from a significant percentage of his pension and free health care for life “to be in the right place at the right time to make this market real.” (Though it’s probably safe to say that Uber, with some $11 billion on its balance sheet, is making it worth his while.) Moore seems to be disillusioned with NASA, saying the agency is leaving promising new aviation markets to the private industry. “It’s the federal government who is best positioned to overcome extremely high levels of risks,” he says.

While NASA is larded with layers of bureaucracy and management, Uber Chief Executive Officer Travis Kalanick has been closely involved in hatching his company’s flying car plans, Moore says. That is, when he’s not distracted with his own political crises, such as his role on President Donald Trump’s advisory council, which he relinquished last week after criticism from customers, drivers and employees.

Kalanick’s bet on Uber Elevate is another indication that while Silicon Valley seems on the surface to be consumed with politics and protests these days, the march into the future continues apace.

By Brad Stone via Industry Week

Uber Elevate PDF

UberHIRE: Many Destinations, One Uber

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Uber India press release:

When we set out, Uber was designed to be an efficient and affordable way to get from point A to point B, almost anywhere in the world. Yet, India isn’t just anywhere in the world – it’s a world in itself, with a culture that is unique and diverse. Think festival shopping, family get-togethers, big fat weddings or back to back business meetings, we are always on the go.

That’s why riders have always asked us if they could hold onto their Ubers while they are out and about — and that’s why we’re launching UberHIRE: an Uber that takes care of all your travel needs for the day.

UberHIRE is a time-based Uber that’s available on-demand, to let you explore and travel around cities knowing that your Uber will wait for you. It’s perfect for travellers exploring a new city, senior citizens who need to make trips punctuated with multiple stop overs, or for business travellers who have multiple meetings – while ensuring it is an economical option for everyone.

After a successful pilot run in Kochi, starting today, UberHIRE will go live in New Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai, Mumbai, Pune, Ahmedabad, Vizag and Nagpur, with more cities slated for launch in the weeks to come.

HOW IT WORKS:

  1. Open your Uber app and slide over to UberHIRE
  2. Set your pickup location and request your ride
  3. Your Uber will be at your service. You will see your driver’s details straight away, along with the details of your car
  4. At the end of your trip, your total fare is calculated based on the distance and duration of your trip. You can pay in cash and receive an e-receipt

PLEASE NOTE: CURRENTLY, UBERHIRE WORKS ONLY ON CASH PAYMENTS


UberHIRE is going live in the following cities. Read on to find out more about UberHIRE in your city:

Ahmedabad

Bangalore

Chennai

Mumbai

Nagpur

New Delhi

Kochi

Pune

Visakhapatnam

Newsroom Uber

January 2017 Car Sales in India: Model wise sales figures

As always, Maruti Suzuki dominates the sales chart in January 2017 too. Its market share(scroll to the bottom for market share chart) grew from 46.7% in December 2016 to 50.5% in January 2017.Of the entire portfolio of Maruti, Ertiga(-10%) and Gypsy(-74%) are the only models to see a decline in sales in the month of January.


September 2017 car sales in India: Model wise sales figures


Alto despite a tough competition from Renault-Kwid is managing to be a top seller, but Maruti had to quickly come up with refreshed Alto to maintain its hold. Sales of both Alto-800 & Alto-K10 together stood at 22,998 units which is a 7% growth compared to 2016 January. Dzire stood as the 2nd best seller from Maruti’s stable. At third position is Wagon-R with January 2017 sales of 14,930 units i.e., as growth of 17%. Swift sales grew by 3% from 14057 units to 14545 units. Sales of Celerio whose diesel variant is recently discontinued stood at 10,879 units that is growth of 52%. Then came Baleno with sales of 10,476 units n January 2017. Vitara Brezza sales in January stood at 8,932 units.Sales of the newly introduced IGNIS stood at 4830 units. Overall domestic sales of Maruti for the month January 2017 stood at 1,33,768 units that is a growth of 26%. maruti-suzuki-india-january-2017-car-sales-figures

Hyundai’s market share declined from 17.6% to 15.9%. But the overall domestic sales grew by 11%. i10-Grand(13,010 units), i20 Elite(11,460 units) & Creta(7,918 units) together contributed 77% to the total sales of Hyundai! Sales of Eon, Xcent & Verna declined by 7%, 10% and 27% respectively. Hyundai is prepping up to launch facelift of Xcent which might improve the sales in future. Tucson sales stood at 148 units. Total domestic sales of Hyundai stood at 42,017 units.hyundai-india-january-2017-car-sales-figures

Mahindra’s Bolero is proving to be a consistent bread winner for the company. Its sales grew by 7% compared to the last January.Sales of KUV-100(2,695 units), TUV-300(2,408 units) and XUV-500(2144 units) declined by 21%, 37% & 14% respectively. XUV-500’s sales may further decline owing to competition from Tata HEXA. Rexton(4 units!) is not performing as expected by the company. Nuvosport(69 units) which came in place of Quanto isn’t doing well. There is nothing much to talk about Xylo, Verito & Vibe.mahindra-and-mahindra-india-january-2017-car-sales-figures

Honda’s overall sales declined by 9% from 17,135 units to 15,592 units. Except for Brio(627 units) and Amaze(3,911 units) sales of whole portfolio declined. BR-V(1,458 units) is not performing as expected by Honda, and Mobilio’s sales are dismal. Jazz is one of the most practical hatchbacks available for purchase in India,  but is not selling well. Introduction of diesel engine in CR-V(54 units) might help matters as it happened with Honda-City.honda-india-january-2017-car-sales-figures

With overall domestic PV sales of 12,906 units Tata-Motors market share is 4.9%. Tata-Motors’ sales are bound grow further owing to 1)Guenter Butschek’s leadership 2)Upcoming launches like Kite5 & Nexon 3)Newly launched HEXA 4)ever increasing sales of Tiago 5)Reduction in number of management layers 5)Supply chain restructuring  and 6)Adoption of new passenger vehicle strategy. Tiago stood as the top seller for Tata with sales of 5,399 units. Zest’s sales(2,615 units) are steadily improving since a couple of months, it can be due to sales to taxi market or due to rub of effect from Tiago. Sales of the newly launched HEXA stood at 1,498 units. Sales of rest of the portfolio constituting Nano, Indica, Vista, Indigo, Manza, Sumo, Bolt, Safari and Storme declined. Tata should phase out Indica, Indigo, Vista & Manza so that they can churn out more Tiagos & HEXAs.tata-motors-india-january-2017-car-sales-figures

Toyota’s domestic sales grew by 21% from 8,511 units to 10,336 units. Except for the newly introduced Fortuner(1954 units) and Innova Crysta(5,013 units), sales of rest of the models declined. Etios & Liva are mostly purchased by taxi owners, otherwise their sales would be more dismal. Sales of Corolla and Camry stood at 153 units and 120 units respectively.toyota-kirloskar-motors-india-january-2017-car-sales-figures

Renault is surviving on two models, Kwid and Duster. Their combined contribution to total sales is a whopping 93.31% . Sales of Kwid and Duster stood at 6,924 units and 1,279 units respectively. There is nothing much to talk about the rest of the portfolio.renault-india-january-2017-car-sales-figures

Ecosport(3,761 units) came up as the top contributor to Ford India sales. Sales of Aspire grew by 41% from 2,470 units to 1,748 units. Sales of Endeavour stood at 455 units. Figo sales declined by 29% from 1,748 units to 1,264 units. Both Figo and Aspire are excellent vehicles but the only thing putting down their sales is Ford badge.Ford is working on it, they launched a campaign to change its ‘expensive service image’ in consumers mind. So, Ford-India’s sales may grow further in the coming months.ford-india-january-2017-car-sales-figures

Introduction of Datsun Redi-GO isn’t helping much. It is not selling well as its cousin Kwid. Sales of Redi-GO for the month of January 2017 stood at 1,865 units. Sales of GO(824 units) and Micra( 743 units) grew by 22% and 37% respectively. Sales of Terrano,Sunny & GO+ declined. One unit of Nissan GT-R is sold. Total sales(4,346 units) of Nissan & Datsun grew by 63%. Introduction of GO-Cross might help matters.nissan-datsun-india-january-2017-car-sales-figures

It is Ameo(1,911 units) that helped Volkswagen India to see a sales growth of 1%, otherwise Volkswagen should see a massive decline in sales.Sales of entire portfolio constituting Polo, Vento, Jetta, Beetle and Passat declined. Total sales stood at 4,060 units.volkswagen-india-january-2017-car-sales-figures

Same thing with Chevrolet too, except for Cruze(50%) all other models’ sales declined. Total sales declined by 35% from 2,788 units to 1,808 units.gm-chevrolet-india-car-sales-figures-january-2017

Octavia and Superb are the only models to display  positive sales number. Rapid’s sales declined by 8% from 1,044 units to 959 units.skoda-india-january-2017-car-sales-figures

Fiat India is selling less cars than the luxury car marques. Fiat India is sustaining on engine sales to Maruti and Tata. Combined sales of Punto, Evo & Avventura stood at 225 units. Total sales(-54%) stood at 288 units. fiat-india-january-2017-car-sales-figures

Top 25 selling cars in January 2017:

Number of models from Maruti’s stable is 12! , and from Hyundai is 5, Honda & Mahindra have two models each in the top 25 list, Renault,Tata,Toyota & Ford have one model each in the top 25 list. Tata Tiago is ranked 17 in the list.top-25-selling-cars-in-january-2017-in-india

Market-share ranking of each OEM in January 2107:rank-and-market-share-of-automotive-oems-in-india

Via: Autopunditz