A Lime scooter rider died this morning in Washington, D.C., marking the second fatality this month

Lime, the 18-month-old, San Francisco-based company whose bright green bicycles and scooters now dot cities throughout the U.S., launched a pilot program in Tacoma, Washington, today, but that tiny victory might have felt short-lived. The reason: on the opposite side of the country, a Lime rider was killed today by an SUV while tooling around Washington D.C.’s DuPont neighborhood. The local fire department shared video of the rescue, which shows that the victim, an adult male, had to be pulled from the undercarriage of the vehicle. It’s the second known fatality for the company following a death earlier this month in Dallas, when a 24-year-old Texas man fell off the scooter he was riding and died from blunt force injuries to his head. On the one hand, the developments, while unfortunate, can hardly come as a surprise to anyone given how vulnerable riders or e-scooters
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Delta to start scanning faces at airport check-in

Delta will later this year roll out facial recognition at its terminal at Atlanta International Airport for anyone traveling on an international flight. The airline said the biometric facial scanning is optional — a move that will shave off a few minutes off each flight — but will help border and pre-flight security authorities before jetting out of the US. It’s the latest roll-out of facial recognition trials at Detroit Metropolitan and New York John F. Kennedy airports. What might be convenient to some, to others it’s a privacy violation — and some argue that without approval from Congress, it could be illegal. Facial recognition at airports is a controversial move, one that’s been decried over the past year since it first rolled out last year. Six major US airports completed trials as part of a wider rollout — aimed to be completed by today. CBP relies on airlines to collect facial
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Bird hits 10 million scooter rides

Bird just announced 10 million scooter rides since launching about one year ago. If this story sounds familiar to you, it’s probably because Bird competitor Lime earlier today announced it surpassed 11.5 million rides across its shared bikes and scooters. Bird, which launched last September in Santa Monica, Calif., currently operates in 100 cities and has over two million unique riders, Bird founder and CEO Travis VanderZanden told TechCrunch. But Bird’s first year of operations has been full of ups and downs. Many of the downs have been around regulatory issues. Bird faced, and overcame them, in Santa Monica but failed in San Francisco. “I think anytime you’re doing something new that the cities haven’t contemplated before, there always seems to be gray area on where you fit in in the regulatory environment,” VanderZanden said. “Cities hadn’t thought about electric scooters and electric scooter sharing. We collaborated very
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Lime hits 11.5 million bike and scooter rides

Bike and scooter company Lime recently hit 11.5 million rides, a couple of months after it surpassed six million rides. This milestone comes just 14 months after Lime deployed its first bikes. Today, Lime is in more than 100 markets throughout the U.S. and Europe. Last December, Lime brought its bikes to a number of European cities and in June, Lime brought its scooters to Paris. By the end of this year, Lime plans to launch in an additional 50 cities. The rise of shared personal electric vehicles has also led to a new type of side hustle for some people. Through Lime’s Juicer program, which enables anyone to make money from charging scooters overnight, the company has paid out millions of dollars to those workers. Lime has raised $467 million in funding, with its most recent round coming in at $335 million. The round, led by
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Lime is pissed at San Francisco for denying it an e-scooter permit, claims ‘unlawful bias’

Lime is waging a war against the San Francisco Municipal Transporation Agency (SFMTA), claiming that the organization acted with “unlawful bias” and “sought to punish Lime” when it chose not to award the e-scooter and dockless bike startup a permit to operate in San Francisco last month. Lime has sent an appeal to the SFMTA, requesting an “unbiased hearing officer” reevaluate its application to participate in the city’s 12-month pilot program for e-scooter providers. The SFMTA, however, says they are “confident” they picked the right companies in Scoot and Skip. “After a thorough, fair and transparent review process, we are confident we selected the strongest applicants to participate in the one-year scooter pilot,” a spokesperson for SFMTA said in a statement provided to TechCrunch. “Scoot and Skip demonstrated the highest level of commitment to our city’s values of prioritizing public safety, promoting equity and ensuring accountability. Lime’s appeal will go to an independent
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Lyft now integrates public transit info in app

Lyft has officially entered the public transit space with the launch of Nearby Transit, a feature currently available just in Santa Monica, Calif. This comes just a couple of days after Lyft deployed electric scooters in the city. Today, Lyft customers in Santa Monica will see the Nearby Transit option, which includes route information and schedules for the Big Blue Bus, LA Metro and Metrolink. The feature is in partnership with Trafi, a transit information platform. “Building on the launch of Lyft Scooters in Santa Monica this week, it’s another step toward providing effective, equitable, and sustainable transportation to our communities, and towards creating a more seamless and connected transportation network,” the company posted on its blog. Lyft has also brought on Lilly Shoup, formerly of Nelson\Nygaard Consulting, to serve as senior director of transportation policy. In that role, Shoup will oversee Lyft’s multi-modal transportation efforts as they pertain
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Daimler pours millions into electric bus company Proterra

Proterra has raised $155 million in a funding round co-led by Daimler and Tao Capital Partner, a deal that could transform the school bus market in North America. Until now, Proterra has focused on producing electric buses for municipal, federal and commercial transit agencies. The company has developed a line of electric buses that can travel 350 miles on a single charge, enough range to last entire day. Proterra has sold hundreds of its all-electric buses as cities try to reduce tailpipe emissions. This latest investment comes with a catch: Proterra will work with Daimler to possibly electrify the company’s Thomas Built Buses division, which manufactures a line of school buses. The two companies didn’t provide a lot of detail on when electric school buses might come to market. For now, the two companies are only committing publicly to collaborating on an electric vehicle for the school bus market. Proterra, which has
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DOJ launches investigation into Tesla, Elon Musk’s tweets

Tesla’s stock is down 5 percent this morning after news emerged the U.S. Department of Justice had launched a criminal investigation into CEO Elon Musk’s Aug. 7 tweets about taking the company private. The criminal probe is in addition to the previously reported Securities and Exchange Commission investigation into the electric car company. “Last month, following Elon’s announcement that he was considering taking the company private, Tesla received a voluntary request for documents from the DOJ and has been cooperative in responding to it,” a Tesla spokesperson said in a statement provided to TechCrunch. “We have not received a subpoena, a request for testimony, or any other formal process. We respect the DOJ’s desire to get information about this and believe that the matter should be quickly resolved as they review the information they have received.” Bloomberg reports that the DOJ’s criminal inquiry is in the “early stages” “The
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Lyft hits 1 billion rides a couple of months after Uber hit 10 billion trips

Today marks a big milestone for Lyft — one billion rides. That’s a milestone Uber hit in December 2015. Uber has since grown to 10 billion trips completed — including Eats deliveries — as of this past July. Uber, of course, had a bit of head start given it launched in 2009 while Lyft first launched in 2012. This milestone for Lyft comes about a year after it announced it was completing one million rides a day. To celebrate it, Lyft employees are surprising 3,500 drives with a free tank of gas. Earlier this month, Lyft officially entered the scooter sharing space when it launched electric scooters in Denver, Colo. Lyft has since deployed its scooters in Santa Monica, Calif. as part of the city’s pilot program. Lyft’s entrance into scooters came close after its acquisition of bike-share company Motivate. We’ll be watching closely to see how Lyft’s additional modes
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Lyft deploys electric scooters in Santa Monica

Lyft has launched its electric scooters in Santa Monica, Calif. as part of the city’s pilot program, joining both Bird and Lime, CNET first reported. As part of the pilot program, Lyft can have up to 250 scooters on the streets at any one time. Riders must also be sure to stay within the service area of Santa Monica, and not venture out into the broader Los Angeles area. Otherwise, they’ll be fined. Lyft’s launch in Santa Monica comes just a couple of weeks after the company deployed scooters in Denver, Colo. Lyft’s scooters cost $1 to unlock and then 15 cents per minute to ride. They can travel up to 15 mph. Lyft’s chief rival Uber/JUMP, which received a permit to operate in Santa Monica, has yet to deploy any electric scooters. Though, it does have a partnership of sorts with Lime.

WHILL raises $45M to help people with disabilities get around airports and other large venues

WHILL, the startup known for creating sleek, high-tech personal mobility devices, announced today that it has closed a $45 million Series C. The funding will be used for expanding into new international markets, as well as developing new products for large venues, including airports and “last-mile” sidewalk transportation. The round’s lead investors were SBI Investment, Daiwa Securities Group and WHIZ Partners, with participation from returning investors INCJ, Eight Road Ventures, MSIVC, Nippon Venture Capital, DG Incubation and Mizuho Capital. This brings WHILL’s total funding so far to about $80 million. Founded in Tokyo in 2012, WHILL plans to open a branch in the European Union and enter 10 new European countries. It also plans to start working with partners on developing autonomous capabilities for its mobility devices, senior marketing manager Jeff Yoshioka told TechCrunch. The company will build its own sensors and cameras to use in its “mobility as
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Boom’s chief test pilot on the thrill and challenge of going supersonic (again)

“There’s nothing like it out there,” says Commander Bill “Doc” Shoemaker (Ret.), chief test pilot for Boom Supersonic, the startup aiming to make a passenger airliner for transoceanic flights at speeds (as you might guess from the name) faster than sound. Shoemaker, a former Navy aviator, fighter pilot and aeronautics engineer, will have the daunting privilege of being the first to fly the company’s proof of concept single-seater during tests next year. That there’s nothing like Boom is not exactly a controversial opinion — there aren’t a lot of companies out there trying to resurrect supersonic flight. The Concorde is, after all, so well known a cautionary tale of engineering ambition exceeding the constraints of reality that it verges on hackneyed. But Shoemaker isn’t a Silicon Valley startup commentator, he’s a test pilot, and his perspective is that of someone who has worked on and flown dozens of
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Uber fires up its own traffic estimates to fuel demand beyond cars

If the whole map is red and it’s a short ride, maybe you’d prefer taking an Uber JUMP Bike instead of an UberX. Or at least if you do end up stuck bumper-to-bumper, the warning could make you less likely to get mad mid-ride and take it out on the driver’s rating. This week TechCrunch spotted Uber overlaying blue, yellow, and red traffic condition bars on your route map before you hail. Responding to TechCrunch’s inquiry, Uber confirmed that traffic estimates have been quietly testing for riders on Android over the past few months and the pilot program recently expanded to a subset of iOS users. It’s already live for all drivers. The congestion indicators are based on Uber’s own traffic information pulled from its historic trip data about 10 billion rides plus real-time data from its drivers’ phones, rather than estimates from Google that already power Uber’s maps. If traffic
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Lyft hires yet another ex-Tesla employee

Lyft is on a bit of a Tesla poaching spree while Tesla employees are exiting in droves. The latest ex-Tesla employee to join Lyft is Cal Lankton, who most recently led the development of Tesla’s electric vehicle charging network up until May. At Lyft, Lankton will serve as VP of infrastructure operations where he will focus on the next generation of Lyft’s driver hubs. “I came to Lyft because I believe in the company’s priorities of driver care and environmental sustainability, and I know that our retail footprint can effectively marry the two through smart design and deployment,” Lankton said in a statement. Lyft is also bringing on board Geoffrey Bain from Unilever to serve as the company’s senior director of retail operations. Both will work with Lyft VP of Driver Experience Operations Karim Bousta, who joined the company in July from Tesla.  All of the aforementioned people report
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Uber is investing $150M in Toronto to expand self-driving car efforts

Months after an Uber self -driving vehicle struck and killed a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona, the ride-hailing giant has announced it’s adding a new engineering hub in Toronto and expanding its autonomous research team as it refocuses its self-driving car efforts. In his first visit to the Canadian tech hub since becoming CEO of Uber last year, Dara Khosrowshahi announced plans to invest $150 million in Toronto over the next five years. Uber will bring on 300 new employees, bringing the company’s total headcount in Toronto to 500. The new engineering hub is expected to open early next year. We’ve reached out to Uber for comment. “At Uber, we recognize Canada’s commitment to innovation and the vibrancy of Toronto’s tech ecosystem,” Khosrowshahi said in a statement provided to the Toronto Star. “We want to support the innovation coming out of this great, diverse region.”

Google Street View rival Mapillary collaborates with Amazon to read text in its 350M image database

Mapillary, the Swedish startup that wants to take on Google and others in mapping the world by way of a crowdsourced database of street-level imagery, is taking an interesting step in the development of its platform. The company is now working with Amazon, and specifically its Rekognition API, to detect and read text in Mapillary’s database of 350 million images. The first application resulting from the new feature will come from a large US city (that Mapillary will not name right now), which plans to use the information that will now be “readable” from parking signs to build a parking app. “Parking is a super hot space and [parking information] is one of the most asked-for pieces of data that people want to use Mapillary for,” said Jan Erik Solem, CEO and co-founder of the Malmo, Sweden-based startup. He said that while parking will be the first application and one
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Brazilian startup Yellow raises $63M — the largest Series A ever for a Latin American startup

After selling their ridesharing startup, 99, to Didi Chuxing for $1 billion last year, Ariel Lambrecht and Renato Freitas didn’t waste any time throwing their hats back in the ring. Months after their big exit, the pair joined forces with Eduardo Musa, who spent two decades in the bicycle industry, to start another São Paulo-based mobility startup. Yellow, a bike- and scooter-sharing service, quickly captured the attention of venture capitalists, raising a $9 million seed round in April and now, the company is announcing the close of a $63 million Series A. The round is the largest Series A financing ever for a startup in Latin America, where tech investment, especially from U.S.-based firms, has historically remained low. 2017, however, was a banner year for Latin American startups; 2018, it seems, is following suit. More than $600 million was invested in the first quarter of 2018, partly
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Uber is getting a new look

Uber has broken up with the bits and atoms logo it unveiled in 2016. This morning, the company updated their website and app with a brand spankin’ new logo as part of a rebrand it’s rolling out in the coming months. The move comes two days after Uber tapped former Coca-Cola executive Rebecca Messina to lead marketing efforts. Characterized by its use of all-caps and thick, bold strokes, the ride-hailing giant’s branding has always felt a bit hostile. Its new font, also unveiled today, is much more modern and friendly. And finally, Uber has done away with UBER and welcomed Uber. The latest logo is the company’s simplest yet. A spokesperson told TechCrunch they want to be “easily recognizable,” which is why they are dumping the symbol and going for the most straightforward imagery possible. “We’re excited to unveil a new, simplified logo for the Uber app that brings
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Tesla just lost its head of global finance

Tesla’s head of global finance is leaving the automaker, the latest high-level executive departure that comes just days after chief accounting officer Dave Morton resigned after barely a month on the job. The departure was first reported by Bloomberg. Tesla confirmed to TechCrunch that Justin McAnear, whose official title was vice president of worldwide finance and operation, is leaving after three years. His last day is October 7. “Several weeks ago, I announced to my team that I would be leaving Tesla because I had the chance to take a CFO role at another company,” McAnear said in a statement provided by Tesla. “I’ve truly loved my time at Tesla, and I have great respect for my colleagues and the work they do, but this was simply an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. Any other speculation as to why I’ve left is simply inaccurate. I’ve been working with the team to
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Zoox is offering autonomous rides in SF this week

Zoox, the self-driving car startup worth a reported $3.2 billion post-money valuation, is offering autonomous rides this week as part of the Global Climate Action Summit. The Global Climate Action Summit convenes state and local leaders, scientists, non-profits and others to discuss climate action opportunities. In partnership with the Fairmont hotel in San Francisco, Zoox will transport select summit guests between the Fairmont and Moscone Center in its self-driving Toyota Highlander test cars. Zoox says it’s working with the Fairmont and the Summit to determine guests. “Zoox was born to improve safety, congestion, and pollution in our increasingly dense cities,” says Zoox co-founder, President and CTO Jesse Levinson said in a press release. “We are proud to demonstrate our state-of-the-art autonomous technology, partner with the Fairmont, and show private enterprise support of Governor Brown’s and Mayor Bloomberg’s Global Climate Action Summit right here in our hometown.” The goal
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