Welcome to R&D Market Pulse, a weekly report on the top spenders in research and development.
I’m R&D Magazine Editor Laura Panjwani
Google Invests in Electric Scooter, Bike Sharing Company
Apple’s Google Ventures recently led a financing round to raise $335 million for Lime, an electric scooter and bike sharing company.
Uber also joined the investment round, making a sizable investment. Uber will work with Lime to make Lime electric scooters available in the Uber app.
Lime utilizes GPS, 3G wireless technology, and self-locks, to make electric scooters and electric and non-electric bike sharing universally available and affordable with the goal of reducing carbon emissions. The system is dock free; users simply locate a bike or scooter nearby using an app, unlock the bike using a code provided by the app, ride the vehicle to their destination and then manually lock the bike in any location for the next user to locate. Lime is currently available in 32 cities and at 16 universities.
Microsoft Azure-Powered Self-Driving Mini Bus
Microsoft recently highlighted e.GO Mover, a self-driving, electrically powered, cloud-connected vehicle which utilizes Microsoft Azure. The vehicle, which is currently a prototype only, can transport as many as 10 people sitting plus five standing, making on-demand pickups and drop-offs. It runs on a battery that can last up to 10 hours and span up to 100 miles.
The autonomous shuttle, created by German company, e.GO Digital, was designed to drive safely and smartly in thick traffic. It is expected to hit the streets in Germany in 2019.
Toyota Launches Car-Share Service in Hawaii
Toyota has launched a round-trip, station-based car share service in Honolulu, Hawaii which features a range of Toyota and Lexus vehicles at 25 easily accessible stations throughout the city.
The system, known as Hui, is managed using an easy-to-use mobile app developed by Toyota Connected. The app supports a range of fleet management tools, as well as driver identification, authentication and payment management. In addition, Hui vehicles are equipped with Toyota’s Smart Key Box, which generates a digital key that allows users to lock and unlock, as well as start vehicles via their smartphone.
In a statement, Zack Hicks, chief executive officer and president of Toyota Motor North America said.
“We’re really excited about Hui because it’s a game changing way to offer car sharing. The program is simple to use and more convenient than a traditional car rental service – plus typical add-ons like gas and insurance are included in the reservation cost.”
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R&D Magazine follows the top 25 spenders in R&D as part of its R&D Market Pulse Index. The full list of companies as well as expert stock market insight from R&D Magazine’s contributing editor Tim Studt is available each Monday on rdmag.com on the Market Pulse page.
I’m Laura Panjwani and thank you for watching R&D Market Pulse. Join us next week for more R&D business news.