walkitout (walkitout) wrote,
walkitout
walkitout

TNC and Robot Lawn Mowers (unrelated to each other, link heavy)

Uber is an example of a TNC: Transportation Network Company. They have an app and a couple of service formats. One is a batch of commercial drivers (licensed like car services); the other is UberX, sort of "normal" people who are willing to offer rides in their own vehicles. (There are a bunch of other companies offering services in both of these modes, as well as regular taxi services and car services which have apps to hail or reserve rides.) Uber handles payments/tips via the apps, but everything else seems to be sort of contracted out, leading to some interesting liability/insurance/regulatory issues.

California is attempting to regulate this innovative nascent industry: http://techcrunch.com/2013/09/19/cpuc-ridesharing-regulations/

There are some real insurance problems: http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Drivers-for-Uber-Lyft-stuck-in-insurance-limbo-5183379.php

California has also already had an early tragedy attributable to this innovative nascent industry: http://www.wired.com/business/2014/01/uber-wrongful-death/

There are lawsuits: http://www.xconomy.com/boston/2013/06/27/uber-still-fighting-two-federal-lawsuits-in-boston/

Some humor value in a Boston cab company accusing Uber of RICO violations. That article also notes that the UberX side (and also Lyft and Sidecar) are encountering enough enforcement at LAX to tell their drivers not to do pickups there (airports typically requiring anyone doing business at the airport to be permitted by that airport).

And now, for some humor: robots to mow your lawn, a capsule link-story.

In 2005, for over $2000, a lawn mowing robot aimed at ordinary consumers.

http://www.engadget.com/2005/05/26/ambrogio-evolution-robotic-lawnmowers-poised-to-take-over/

Ah, the boom! Also, Italians! Product seems real and still exists.

http://www.ambrogiorobot.com/en/prodotti

iRobot, makers of Roomba (today, ours choked on a small, plastic ball and had to be Heimliched. Well, okay, I had to find and extract the ball. Often, it exhausts itself trying to hump the base of the floor lamp, or crawl under the sofa) thought about making a lawn bot.

http://www.engadget.com/2006/08/23/irobot-cooking-up-lawn-mower-bot/

I mention this because there is a new entry:

http://gigaom.com/2014/01/31/within-a-few-years-a-self-powered-robot-could-be-mowing-your-lawn/

New wrinkle: it is powered by the grass it eats, er, mows. Whatever. Currently going after hay, the creator(s) have idealistic visions of selling to Africa to supply power. Or something.

I feel like things like lawn bots would do better in a world with less unemployment.
Tags: our future economy today
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