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Ride-Share Roundup: Lyft Targets Pedestrians, Most Popular App Spots and Rumors of IPOs

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author photo by Lindsay Martell January 2019

The Lyftie Awards don't have the pomp and prestige of, say, the Oscars or the Golden Globes, but that doesn't mean Lyft is lacking in rolling out the (virtual) red carpet. For the fourth year in a row, the ride-share company is giving a shout out to riders' most visited destinations of 2018. On its website, Lyft has posted the most popular places to catch a concert, have a drink, work up a sweat and grab a late-night snack. Forty-five cities/regions made the cut -- from Atlanta to upstate New York -- and riders in those areas may take a nostalgic ride down memory lane as they remember many a fond visit to Whisler's Bar in Austin, Texas (folks rave about the handcrafted cocktails) or a late-night trek to the Lavender Heights in Sacramento California's midtown neighborhood. Wherever you ride, it's always sweet to celebrate the spots that gave your 2018 a little extra sparkle.

Oh! A coupe of IPOs!

For 2019, Lyft and Uber are stepping up in the biz world with rumored IPOs. In early December, The New York Times reported Uber had quietly filed documents to become a public company, citing unnamed sources. Coincidentally (or maybe not ... ?) the filing happened on the same day as Lyft submitted its Initial Public Offering paperwork to the Securities and Exchange Commission (also reported by The New York Times). Uber's worth is rumored to be upwards of $120 billion, with Lyft valued at about $15 billion. 2019 is believed to be a banner year for tech IPOs. According to J.P. Morgan's global chairman of investment banking Jennifer Nason, who spoke with CNBC, hospitality and lodging giant Airbnb, Pinterest and Instacart could also be public this year. That's a lot of potential dough for the darlings of the tech sector.

Pedestrian-Friendly Patent

When it's not publishing its most visited hot spots or hitting the books to prepare to become a public company, Lyft is also snagging patents. In late December, Dezeen, an architecture and design magazine, reported the United Stated Patent and Trademark Office granted the ride-sharing company a patent for a notification system. It would allow autonomous vehicles to communicate with folks walking and biking, as well as other drivers.

The system would use sensors to "see" objects on the road. Then, it would determine the correct type of message to display on its windows and/or windshield -- allowing the glass of the self-driving car to become screens for such information as "safe to cross" and "warning turning left/right", according to Dezeen.

In the patent, the ride-hail app explained how drivers and pedestrians are used to interacting in specific ways. "Removing a driver from some vehicles can lead to uncertainty and miscommunication." This is a particularly timely patent filing, explains Dezeen, as tech companies face the challenge of taking autonomous vehicles to the mainstream.

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Ride-Share Roundup: Lyft Targets Pedestrians, Most Popular App Spots and Rumors of IPOs - Autotrader