Apr 19, 2019

Zipcar gets ready for AV rentals

Tracey Zhen. Photo: Suzanne Kreiter/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Zipcar, the world's largest car-sharing network, is preparing for the day that consumers don't have to walk to find their shared rental car, but instead it comes to find them.

The big picture: Zipcar is the original auto-industry disruptor, giving customers on-demand access to vehicles as a viable alternative to car ownership. But the 19-year-old company faces competition from new mobility services including peer-to-peer car-sharing networks like Turo — and even driverless taxis some day.

But it has 3 advantages the newcomers lack, Zipcar president Tracey Zhen tells me:

  1. Years of experience with fleet management. Zipcar knows how to match supply and demand, and can quickly reposition cars where they're needed.
  2. Strong customer loyalty through its subscription-based model. Rivals need to find, acquire and keep new customers.
  3. Trusted partnerships with city leaders. Transportation is a local issue, so collaboration is important.

Why it matters: All that experience will be important in an AV world, she says. The vehicle use cases won't change, even if there's no one behind the wheel.

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Updated 48 mins ago - Politics & Policy

U.S. enters 6th day of nationwide protests over George Floyd's killing

A protest in Philadelphia on May 31. Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

The D.C. National Guard is being called to assist police with protests, per AP, as protests continue past the city's 11 p.m. curfew.

What's happening: Police fired tear gas into a crowd of over 1,000 people in Washington, D.C.'s Lafayette Square across from the White House one hour before Sunday's 11 p.m. curfew, AP reports. Earlier in the night, protestors held a stand off in Lafayette Square, after previously breaking through a White House police barricade. A fire in the basement of the city's historic St. Johns Church was extinguished.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Journalists get caught in the crosshairs as protests unfold

A man waves a Black Lives Matter flag atop the CNN logo outside the CNN Center during a protest in response to the police killing of George Floyd, Atlanta, Georgia, May 29. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images

Dozens of journalists across the country tweeted videos Saturday night of themselves and their crews getting arrested, being shot at by police with rubber bullets, targeted with tear gas by authorities or assaulted by protesters.

Driving the news: The violence got so bad over the weekend that on Sunday the Cleveland police said the media was not allowed downtown unless "they are inside their place of business" — drawing ire from news outlets around the country, who argued that such access is a critical part of adequately covering protests.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Tanker truck plows into Minneapolis protesters

The tanker after plowing into protesters on the shut-down bridge in Minneapolis on Sunday evening. Authorities said it appeared protesters escaped injury. Photo: Jeff Wheeler/Star Tribune via Getty Images

Minnesota authorities said in a statement they're investigating as a criminal matter what happened with a truck that "drove into demonstrators" on a Minneapolis bridge Sunday evening while the eight-lane road was closed for a protest.

What they're saying: Minnesota Department of Public Safety tweeted, "Very disturbing actions by a truck driver on I-35W, inciting a crowd of peaceful demonstrators. The truck driver was injured & taken to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries. He is under arrest. It doesn't appear any protesters were hit by the truck."