September 6, 2009
Mobile technology may help city dwellers hitch ride
Hitch-hikers have always used their thumbs to get a ride. Now, according to Reuters, a new invention aims to update the technique -- allowing mobile phone users to dial-a-driver.
The mobile ride-sharing service being developed by researchers in Germany combines internet and mobile technologies to match drivers to passengers for trips around town, without them having to arrange it long beforehand.
While traditional car sharing services require commuters to register routes in advance, the promoters of "OpenRide" say their product enables drivers to enter a destination on their mobile phone when they are already on the road.
A server tracks the vehicle's current location and scans for ride requests. If the software finds a match, the driver is notified and has the option of picking up passengers en route.
The driver and passenger negotiate a fare for the journey, typically covering fuel costs. The developers want to make it possible for passengers to rate drivers, to increase safety.
-- SMS car pooling begins in India (2006)
-- Commuters can double up thanks to SMS (2004)
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