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Ola offers free rides in Melbourne

Founded in 2011, Ola has been competing against Uber in the Indian ride-hailing market

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Woman hiring taxi. Pixabay
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Indian ride-sharing major Ola on Thursday announced that it has begun offering free rides in Australia’s Melbourne city as a soft launch of its services with local driver-partners.

“Customers in Melbourne city can download Ola application, register for an account and book their rides,” the city-based online cab aggregator said in a statement here. The company, however, did not specify how many free rides the passengers can avail, and up to what distance, in Melbourne.

Ola is giving free rides in Melbourne. VOA

On January 30, Ola announced its foray into the international market to rival US-based Uber. It began its operations in Australia in February starting with Perth and later in Sydney.

“Over the coming months, the rollout of operations in Australia will continue with cities like Brisbane, Gold Coast, Canberra, Adelaide, Darwin and Hobart,” the statement said.

Also Read: Electric Taxi trial run in India to start from May 24 in Nagpur

Over 15,000 registrations from local driver-partners across Australia have been received so far, it added. “With a low 7.5 per cent introductory commission rate, driver-partners can earn more money and access it easily.”

Founded in 2011, Ola has been competing against Uber in the Indian ride-hailing market. Ola claims to have 125 million users in 110 cities across the country. IANS

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Drone Delivery Project by Google All Set to ‘Take off’ in Australia

Up to 30 businesses were expected to take part in the first trial

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A Google logo is seen at the company's headquarters in Mountain View, California, VOA

Australia is set to become “the most advanced country in the world” in drone delivery when the first commercial service by Google starts operations in 2019.

Wing, a subsidiary of Google’s parent company Alphabet, on Thursday announced that its commercial drone home-delivery service would launch in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) next year, reports Xinhua news agency.

The drones will travel at speeds of up to 125 km per hour and will deliver small packages, including cups of coffee, to homes within 5 km of the company’s base in Mitchell in the northern suburbs of Canberra.

James Ryan Burgess, CEO of Wing, said that the 12-rotor drones, which were designed to guarantee safety, weigh 4.5 kg each and can carry packages weighing up to 1.5 kg.

On-the-ground, operators will supervise multiple flights at a time as the drones fly to their destination automatically.

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Google’s drone delivery project set to ‘take off’ in Australia. Pixabay

“We have high levels of automation and so the aircraft themselves are doing a lot of the determining of what is safe, and making sure that they are monitoring themselves to be healthy. If there are any anomalies or any problems, the aircraft actually take action themselves before even a human could react and are able to execute safe contingency actions,” Burgess told the media.

“That’s one of the reasons why we’re able to perform such quick service and get people (their) packages within just a few minutes… The system can take off right away when the customer places an order.”

Moreover, a supervisor can quickly take control of a drone if necessary.

Also Read- People Raise Over $1 bn on Facebook

Up to 30 businesses were expected to take part in the first trial.

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority has worked with Wing since 2014 to ensure safety and will use the results of the trial to guide future drone regulations. (IANS)