BMW says it will launch a ride-hailing service in China this month. The company is the first foreign car manufacturer to be granted a license to operate such a service. The service will be launched in the southwest of China, in the capital of Sichuan province.
BMW’s ride-sharing service will compete with a joint venture of Daimler and Chinese automaker Geely (owner of Volvo and Lotus). The joint venture was announced this October, however, the start date of the operations hasn’t been announced.
China’s ride-hailing market, worth $23 billion, is dominated by Didi Chuxing, which currently controls 90% of the market.
Daimler to launch pilot scooter service in Lisbon
Daimler has announced the location of its electric scooter sharing service pilot — Lisbon, Portugal. The project labeled Hive is operated by the Daimler-owned company, MyTaxi. While currently, the service will operate as a separate offering, according to MyTaxi CEO Eckhart Diepenhorst, it will later be integrated into MyTaxi’s ridehailing offerings. According to Diepenhorst, positive relations with the city administration was one of the deciding factors for choosing the city.
The service will cost 1 Euro flat-fee and 15 cents per minute afterwards. Due to the popularity and similarity of such services, the main differentiating factor remains the availability of the units.
GM to kill Volt, Cruze, Impala
General Motors has announced that it will be killing several passenger vehicles — Chevrolet Volt, Chevrolet Cruze and Chevrolet Impala, as the company hopes to cut its costs. The automaker also announced it will be cutting 15% of their employees in Michigan, Ohio, and Maryland.
However, the company backtracked after threats from US President Donald Trump that he would cut the subsidies. GM announced that many of the worker impacted by the car production cuts will have an opportunity to move to different GM plants.
Amazon’s self-driving toy car
Amazon is offering a DeepRacer toy car for programmers to train in self-driving. The vehicle can be pre-ordered for $249. The car was created by Amazon’s cloud computing unit, AWS and it comes with an HD camera, a dual-core Intel Processor and other hardware required for self-driving.
However, the car isn’t able to drive on its own out of the box — the company hopes that programmers will use its cloud services to utilize reinforcement learning to turn the toy into a self-driving car. Reinforcement learning made popular headlines after an AI system, AlphaGo, trained using the technique, beat world champion in the game of Go.