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A mobile App ‘Go-Jek’ relieves people of maddening traffic in Jakarta, Indonesia

Go-Jek says, it has more than 200,000 drivers around Indonesia

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Go-Jek, An Ojek For Every Need Image Source:Flickr
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  • Go-Jek’s vision is to escape competition by creating an on-demand platform for anything the consumer wants
  • With rides on motorcycles,Go-Jek has built on the usual strategy of providing rides to introduce a slew of additional Go- services to the app
  • The sudden success over the past two years took even its founder by surprise

s.The ride-hailing apps that are now part of daily life from New York to New Delhi and London are usually used to summon cars. Jakarta, the world’s sixth-largest urban sprawl and by some measures the most car-clogged, needed something different.

Go-Jek became a  sudden success over the past two years and took even its founder by surprise. “We really had no idea it would be adopted so widely and so quickly,” said Nadiem Makarim, who admits the company and its app struggled to keep pace when tens of thousands began downloading it. Makarim believes Jakarta’s carmageddon had arrived at a “pain point” of huge unmet demand for a solution.

As by far the biggest economy in Southeast Asia, making up a third of the region’s gross domestic product, Indonesia has also attracted Uber and Go-Jek’s fiercest competitor, Malaysia’s Grab, which is headed by Makarim’s Harvard classmate Anthony Tan.

Go-Jek has built on the usual strategy of providing rides to introduce a slew of additional Go- services to the app, including delivering food, groceries, cleaners, massage therapists and beauticians to homes.

The Go-Send document pickup and delivery service and Go-Food are the company’s two biggest businesses after rides, Makarim said. Go-Food, he said, has become the biggest food delivery business in Southeast Asia by number of transactions.

“Go-Jek’s vision is to escape competition by creating an on-demand platform for anything our consumer wants,” he said. “We’re not stuck on our identity based on what we think it should be. We let the market decide what they want us to be.”

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Go-Jek logo Image Source:Wikimedia Commons

Like elsewhere, ride hailing apps are drawing an angry backlash from taxi drivers as their incomes drop. In March, a protest by thousands of taxi drivers that paralyzed the capital turned violent, with cabbies brawling in the streets with green-jacketed drivers from Go-Jek and Grab.

Go-Jek says it has more than 200,000 drivers around Indonesia but the pain for taxis seems most acute in Jakarta, where all the ride hailing services are battling fiercely for customers, pushing fares to rock bottom.

Yet the apps have proven so useful to people in a city where officials estimate congestion causes losses of $3 billion a year that attempts to ban them on the basis of claims of unfair competition have failed.

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When the transport minister issued a directive last December banning app-based ojeks, the public outcry was such that President Joko Widodo quickly overruled the decision.

“We want to make Indonesia proud that this is a uniquely Indonesian company that was started here,” Makarim said. The nationalistic appeal of a home-grown tech success is also a potent advantage for the company. (VOA)

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360-Degree Camera-Based Tech Will Make Riding Safer

The aptly named startup, Ride Vision, has introduced a camera system that warns the rider if a vehicle comes too close for comfort

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360-Degree Camera-Based Tech Will Make Riding Safer
360-Degree Camera-Based Tech Will Make Riding Safer. Pixabay

It is no hidden fact that most of the general public consider motorcycle riding an easier way to be checked into a hospital. Not surprising then this sentiment has had an adverse effect on motorcycle sales.

To overcome this, many big manufacturers like Ducati (Ducati Motorcycles To Get Radar) and KTM (KTM Developing Sensor-Based Active Safety Technology) have been developing futuristic laser- and radar-based technologies to avoid accidents and collisions. Now, an Israeli startup has joined the bandwagon with its ‘Collision Aversion Technology’ (CAT).

The aptly named startup, Ride Vision, has introduced a camera system that warns the rider if a vehicle comes too close for comfort. This system works with the help of two cameras fitted at the front and rear of the motorcycle. They cover an area of 180 degrees each, giving the system a combined all-round view of the road.

Ducati
Ducati. Pixabay

While this may sound simple in theory, applying it in practice is another challenge. There are tons of factors to consider. No two motorcycles are exactly alike. If you were to fit this system on every motorcycle, you’d need to recalibrate the cameras to every bike’s size, shape and design. Then there is also the matter of keeping it light and compact so as to not add more weight to the ride.

Clearly, with many concerns to address, it is hard to tell if this technology will ever see the light of the day. For example, the ECU needs to be smart enough to differentiate a potential threat from a bike or a car, along with more information. On the brighter side though, the company has raised 2.5 million dollars in funding, which should enable them with the required R&D of the product.

Also read: India Urges China to Open Markets For Trade

While the Knight Rider-esque motorcycles are still a few good years away, this certainly can be called a step in the right direction. Rest assured we will be bringing you every update involving rider safety technology.