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The transportation stories that drove 2022 • TechCrunch


2022 was the year that made us think, “What a time to live and report on transportation.” This year has been completely dominated by conversations around the realities of bringing self-driving cars to market, the volatility of the freelance economy, transportation dramas. micro and of course all things Tesla.

We’ve reviewed our most efficient transport stories to determine what stands out as important to you, our dear readers.

Car Argo AI

Image credits: Argo artificial intelligence

Autonomous vehicle startup Argo AI emerged in 2017 with a $1 billion investment. Today, the company is no more after Ford and Volkswagen withdrew their investments.

This shocked the AV world, especially since Argo was running a robotaxi pilot with Lyft in Austin and testing completely unmanned technology in Miami. The closure of the company signals two things: (1) Another consolidation is imminent for self-driving technology companies, and (2) Large-scale deployment of Level 4 autonomous vehicle technology still very far away.

Both Ford and VW decided to invest in shorter-term roads to return, namely Level 2 and Level 3 autonomy, or advanced driver assistance systems. Jim Farley, CEO of Ford, also said he doesn’t think the automaker will need to develop the L4 technology itself, but could instead outsource it.

teal blue e-bikes line up in richmond, ca

Image credits: Mobile Bolt

It’s the shipping mystery of the year. What happened to Bolt Mobility, the Miami-based microvehicle startup co-founded by Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt? Back in August, we reported that the company had disappeared from a number of US markets, leaving cities with abandoned equipment, unanswered calls and emails, and lots of it. question. It also left at least one city, Portland, with unpaid fees.

No one — not TechCrunch nor many city officials — has been able to contact the company to ask what happened and what it plans to do with all the equipment the company leaves on the ground.

The company appears to have gone out of business – it hasn’t been active on social media since July – despite gaining momentum the previous year. Bolt started 2021 by acquiring the assets of Last Mile Holdings, which opened 48 new markets for the startup. It just goes to show that micro-mobility is a hard game to win, even if it looks like the odds are in your favor.

If anyone has any information on Bolt Mobility, I’d still be interested to know what happened there.

Stellantis Chrysler Airflow Graphite

Image credits: Chrysler

Because who doesn’t love a roundup? In April at the New York Auto Show, the startups and legacy of the automakers got together to show off their electric vehicle products. Here are the ones that caught our attention this year:

  • Alfa Romeo’s first compact crossover, the Alfa Romeo Tonale 2023.
  • The Chrysler Airflow Graphite Concepta sleek crossover with Level 3 capabilities.
  • Jeep’s Grand Cherokee High Altitude 4xe, a full-size hybrid SUV.
  • The winding roadster of Deus Automobiles, super car Vayanne EV.
  • Indi One by Indi EV, a “lifestyle-focused” crossover with a built-in gaming PC.
  • Kia’s small SUV, the Niro 2023, is available with a hybrid, PHEV or EV powertrain.
  • Kia also introduced the EV9 concept, a boxy SUV expected to hit the US market in 2023.
  • Genesis X Speedium Concept, a coupe with bold design.
  • Vinfast’s two SUV models are VF8 and VF9.
SpaceX founder Elon Musk during a joint T-Mobile and SpaceX event on August 25, 2022 at Boca Chica Beach, Texas

Image credits: Michael Gonzalez / Getty Images

The day before Tesla opened its massive Berlin factory in March, CEO Elon Musk teased the release of Tesla’s “Part 3 Master Plan,” based largely on intellectual themes. artificially and scale up operations to “extremely large scale”.

“Tesla’s key audiences will be scaled up to the extreme size needed to keep humanity away from fossil fuels and AI,” Musk said. tweeted at that time. “But I will also include sections on SpaceX, Tesla and The Boring Company.”

Part 3 of Tesla’s master plan is the first to address Musk’s other companies. Note: This was published before Musk acquired Twitter.

A quick refresher on parts one and two. Part one was published in a 2006 blog post outlining Tesla’s proof of concept and involved building a sports car and using the money to build more affordable cars, while providing zero-emission electrical energy. Part twolaunched a decade later, discussed plans to develop battery storage and launch new models, including pickup trucks and SUVs.

Later that year, Musk revealed more details about his Master Plan Season Three. In a company-wide meeting, the plan’s rationale was: “How do you get the scale to really change the entire energy infrastructure of the earth?”

Image credits: Image of Jeenah Moon/Bloomberg/Getty

Russia’s war in Ukraine caused gasoline prices to skyrocket globally earlier this year. In March, at the start of the fight, Uber and Lyft responded by adding temporary fuel surcharge to the driver’s fare to help the driver cover rising fuel costs.

The Rideshare Guy, a blog and podcast dedicated to helping carpoolers earn more and stay up to date with industry news, polled the U.S. community of Uber and Lyft drivers and found that 43% give up or drive less due to high gas prices. Before the fuel surcharge was announced, that number was 53%.

Many drivers say the surcharge is not enough and that they would rather see a surcharge per mile to offset increased fuel costs on longer trips than a flat fee.

One Lyft driver told TechCrunch that the surcharge was “an insult to the driver.”

This article is important today because it encapsulates many topics – our ability as a species to panic at a time when the prices of hot commodities are up; persistent exacerbation of gig workers; the subtle dance that Uber and Lyft play as they try to appease drivers but never seem to in a way that really makes sense.

Another big story this year is The Labor Department’s proposed ruling on self-employment status, and the subsequent drop in the share prices of app-based companies. The rule, if passed, would make it easier for contract workers to claim employment status if they can demonstrate that they are financially dependent on a company. Drivers who feel they are not only constantly impacted by macroeconomic events but are also largely unprotected by Uber and Lyft may be praying for real change at the federal level.

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