Über to pull out of Hamburg, Germany


This is actually bad news for me. In Singapore, many commuters find it daunting to flag a cab during peak hours, rainy days as well as being in obscure locations where cabs simply do not wish to come. Then came a solution. Über, a transport service provider who had the idea of letting the public choose the driver of their choice, by marrying a willing driver to a happy passenger. A win win situation where people can now commute easily and efficiently without being frustrated by cab rejections or boorish driver attitudes. This change has naturally brought good commuting experience for the general public but is definitely bound to receive extreme resistance from the licensed cab drivers.

Cab drivers view this new transport service, which also features a private driver option for anyone to join its programme as a part time driver, to be a threat for their livelihood. Maybe from a rather more individualistic perspective, I do see Über as a ‘check’ for arrogant and complacent drivers to reflect why they would have lost. I am not generalising the entire cab population here, but more often than not, have I heard cases of exasperated passengers complain about cabbies for their behaviours and attitudes. Hence, Über provided a solution for most of the people.

Now, it is apparent that the company is facing a pullout in Hamburg, Germany, because of the tedious process to obtain registration for an independent rental car enterprise. However, Über is still receiving major support in areas like Berlin and Munich but is likely to pull out from Düsseldorf and Frankfurt.  Über provided the ideal solution for the public, be it a passenger or an average joe looking to moonlight as a part time driver. It provided a service through the use of technology at our fingertips. Anyone can easily get a cab at any hour, without much waiting time, through the use of the Über mobile app. I do not wish to see the end of such brilliant service end here in Singapore. The amount of resistance from licensed cab companies here have also place immersive amount of strain on the company’s operations. But I believe those who truly stood for this service should hold their stand and let the company continue its operations.

Line up for Cabs!

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In their effort to combat Uber in Japan, the dominating messaging platform Line is coming out with a new service. Their launch of a taxi service within their primary app is evidence that the company is seeking to beef up offerings. The service starts in Tokyo, collaborating with Nihon Kotsu to provide the supply of taxis while Line continues to focus their part on handling the payment platform. Facing direct competition from Uber, it becomes imperative that such initiatives be proposed early to secure market shares. Afterall, Japan needed an app that not only offers better network coverage, but also quicker cabs.

Taxi without a driver

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If you have watched the recent movie, “The Internship”, starring Vince Vaugh and Owen Wilson, this wouldn’t seem so much of a new phenomenon to you. In the movie, Vince who casts as Billy Mahon, an enthusiastic sales man who lost his job, had took on an internship at Google. He was seen trying to flag a car driving pass both him and Nick Campbell (Owen Wilson) as they struts across the Google campus. Only to realize there wasn’t a driver, much to both their dismay. Well, seems like what we see in the movie is true. Google is reportedly designing and developing new technology that basically allows vehicles to drive without a driver. So far, these self-driving cars are developed from existing cars. But it is rumored that Google is actually planning to work on developing new vehicles. Google is planning to design and bulid these cars as “robo-taxis”. These taxis would be deployed to different cities in the world to help companies launch robo-taxi fleets in. The plan is to have a real human driver present in the initial phase to ensure the safety of the vehicle and eventually let it be automated.


While Google do have plans to develop commercial vehicles into these self-driving vehicles, their current cars are modified Toyota which cost up to $150,000 for one. And that is quite a hefty amount to begin with. Google is looking to keep costs low. For now, these technologies remains the products from Google X, the semi-secret and innovative tech lab of Google.