After a somewhat busy 2017, filled with managerial switchovers, court cases, hacking cover-ups and license withdrawals, it doesn’t look like this year will be much quieter for Uber.
The rideshare company made headlines again in January, although this time for slightly more run-of-the-mill reasons. First up was another protest by the London black cab industry, which held a series of demonstrations to “highlight corruption”. Organised by the Independent Taxi Alliance, the protests took place around the city, with parts of Elephant and Castle, Marble Arch and Parliament Square brought to a standstill. Drivers were angry at Transport for London’s decision to allow Uber to operate within the city, whilst appealing last year’s decision to not renew their license. However, TfL state that this is simply normal protocol until Uber’s appeals process is “exhausted”.
In slightly more favourable news for the company, Uber again made news with the announcement that it may be reworking its driver ratings system. Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi stated that the ride-share company is considering allowing users to choose drivers based on their rating. “We want to allow the user to opt-in to a higher level of service because right now the only higher level of service that we define is a nicer car. And I think the car and service are two different things”. However, Khosrowshahi did not state whether the plans were simply speculative, or likely to be rolled out in the near future.
Nissan LEAF continues record sales
A Taxi Centre favourite made news in January with Nissan’s announcement that it had sold and shipped it’s 300,000th LEAF model.
The company revealed that the record breaking LEAF had been sold in 2017, making the model the world’s all-time best selling electric car. Continually popular with drivers since launching back in 2010, the Nissan LEAF has also picked up bags of approval from the wider automotive industry, with the title of European, Japanese, and World Car of the Year to its name.
Speaking about the news, Nissan Executive Vice President Daniele Schillaci said: “These numbers prove that the Nissan LEAF remains the most advanced car in the world, with the widest reach and the greatest availability”.
We’re big fans of the Nissan LEAF here at The Taxi Centre, and we’re pleased to be stocking the all new model online this year. If you’re looking for a new taxi that’s economical, smart, and spacious, make sure to take a look at the new Nissan LEAF range we have in stock.
Hyundai and Volkswagen go driverless
Recent years have seen many of the world’s automobile leaders investing huge amounts of time, effort and money to explore the potential of driverless cars, from household names like General Motors to newer entrants in the field like Uber and Tesla.
Volkswagen Group and Hyundai are just the latest two names to step into the autonomous research field, both announcing partnerships with Aurora Innovations to produce their own lines of affordable driverless cars. Aurora Innovations is an American company led by Chris Urmson, the former chief technical officer of Google’s secretive autonomous vehicle project. In recent years, the company has emerged at the forefront of autonomous vehicle development and procured contracts with many of the industry’s biggest names.
‘We know the future of transportation is autonomous’, said Dr Woong Chul Yang, Hyundai’s Vice Chairman, ‘and autonomous driving technology needs to be proven in the real world to accelerate deployment in a safe and scalable manner. Combining our advanced vehicle technology that embeds the latest safety features with Aurora’s leading suite of autonomous technology will advance this revolution in mobility with Hyundai in a leadership position’.
Volkswagen celebrated the announcement with matching euphoria – Johann Jungwirth, the Group’s chief digital officer, described it as ‘a potential partnership of the century’.
The two companies each aim to have their driverless projects finalised as soon as 2021.