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Scientists are trying to help taxis beat Uber at its own game


Taxi companies aren't pleased with Uber and Lyft, but they could be making way better use of ride-sharing technology themselves, according to researchers. A study by MIT and Fujitsu examined why cabs are usually underutilized, but never available during surge periods when you need them. To combat that, they developed on-demand tech that automatically assigns vehicles three possible operating states: taxi, ride-sharing and fixed-route modes. Customers could choose one of those when they order a ride, and immediately receive the boarding times and fares, which would vary by mode. That could save passengers a lot of money, and a test on Tokyo roads resulted in operators making 80 percent more profits too. Fujitsu's goal is to see it operating in Tokyo by 2016, but it might take some convincing to get it adopted more widely. Still, why not beat the upstarts at their own game?

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