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China’s Didi removes 300,000 drivers amid safety overhaul – TechCrunch

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2018 was the year when Didi Chuxing, the ride-hailing company that defeated Uber in China, vowed to put safety ahead of rocket-ship growth after two deadly passenger incidents. One way it works to ramp up safety is a stricter vetting process for drivers.

The mobility giant said Tuesday to a group of media that it has removed more than 300,000 drivers who don’t meet its standards since launching a safety overhaul last year. That adds pressure to an already loss-making company, which some speculate could be hit with a halved valuation (link in Chinese) since reaching an $80 billion high last year, for which passenger wait time is crucial to the success of its business.

In the long term, Didi could address the driver shortage by betting on robotaxis. The Information reported this week that the seven-year-old company is in talks with its largest shareholder SoftBank and other investors about raising money for an autonomous driving unit.

Didi is also hoping to keep both drivers and passengers happy by hiring more support staff. The company said it now has some 9,000 customer service reps on standby 24/7 to take questions from drivers and passengers; half of the agents are in-house staff. The number exceeded an earlier goal of 8,000 disclosed last September when Didi announced to spend some $20 million on customer service.

The hiring spree marks a moment of reckoning at Didi who had been fixated on collecting passengers and drivers while falling short in fulfilling social responsibilities attached to a tech platform. Case in point, Didi’s outsourced passenger support system was criticized for failing to act promptly on irregularities flagged by customers. Labor costs can swell, but safety measures have become a necessary business expenditure as the Chinese government call for more “social responsibilities” among private firms.

The same goes for other sorts of internet platforms like ByteDance, which runs TikTok and the popular news app Jinri Toutiao. The startup often touts itself as a “platform” distributing content to readers instead of a “publisher”. But following a series of online crackdowns ByteDance and other similar media businesses employed thousands of moderators to make sure their content is in line with laws and Beijing’s directives.

Didi claimed that it receives 300,000 calls from passengers and drivers daily, while only 1.7% of the inquiries are suspected to concern safety. It said its customer service system — which utilizes bots to solve standard questions — can react to 95% of the safety risks flagged under 30 minutes. For some context, China’s transportation regulator require safety issues to be responded within 24 hours and processed within five days, according to a set of guidelines published in 2016 to regulate the nascent industry.

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12 Best Uses For Old Computer Keyboards

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Maybe you want to wear your love of keyboards on your sleeve, but earrings and charm bracelets are just a little too ostentatious for your taste. Enter the subtler and more stylish buttons and cufflinks. Not only is this a more discreet way of keeping your old keyboard close, but it’s also among the easiest projects we have for you.

You’ll only need a few supplies, at least one of which you already have at hand. There aren’t any scissors or saws, and you won’t be using any power tools. All you need is your old keyboard, an adhesive like epoxy, and the base of a cufflink or button, both of which you can find at your local craft store or online.

Before you get started, however, take a moment to inspect your keyboard. Consider the wide array of buttons, each with its own special function. Now choose your favorites. Those are the keys you want to carefully remove. If you’re making cufflinks, you’ll need at least two keys. If you’re making buttons, the sky’s the limit.

Now take out a flathead screwdriver — the only tool you’re going to need — and pop the keys you’ve chosen off of the keyboard frame. Once you’ve got them all liberated, generously apply adhesive to the back side of each key and jam the cufflink or button base right in there. Wait for it to cure and you’re ready to attach them to your favorite threads.

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28% Of Car Lovers Most Want To Own This Banned Vehicle

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In a SlashGear poll with 590 U.S. respondents, 27.97% said they would love to own Lamborghini Diablo Strosek. The Italian supercar is not street legal in the U.S. because it’s too fast. If pushed to the limit, the Lamborghini Diablo can exceed 200 mph — this made it the fastest car when it was released in 1990. But it was a German designer known as Vittorio Strosek who modified it and made it even more difficult for it to pass the FMVSS regulations. Because of the 25-year rule, you’re only allowed to import a Lamborghini Diablo that was produced between 1990 to 1997.

The second most popular option in the poll was the Porsche 959, which was picked by 25.25% of the respondents. Just like Lamborghini Diablo, Porsche 959 is super-fast but it doesn’t exceed 200 mph — the best it can do is 198 mph in the Sport variant. However, the real reason Porsche 959 was never sold in the U.S. is that the automaker didn’t want to have its very expensive cars crash tested by NHTSA. Despite the Porsche 959 quickly selling out after it was released, the manufacturer was making a loss selling the car — and if NHTSA crash tested a minimum of four cars, it would have lost more money.

Besides that, 19.83% of the participants said they would prefer Honda ATC and 16.95% wanted Nissan GT-R Skyline. The Smart Crossblade was the least popular option at 10%. 

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The Reason Why NYC Destroys Hundreds Of Dirt Bikes And ATVs Each Year

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In 2021, eight people were killed by dirt bikes or ATVs, and the New York Police Department, along with then-Mayor Bill de Blasio, went on a crusade to get rid of illegal vehicles, according to The City. By the end of the year, the city had seized and subsequently destroyed approximately 500 bikes. As many as 3,000 were ultimately crushed under the tracked wheels of a bulldozer in 2021 (via The City).

When new Mayor Eric Adams took office on January 1, 2022, he continued the fight. By June, they had seized over 2,000 bikes — almost 80% over the number they took by that time the previous year. And there’s no sign of letting up, with the police nabbing more than 250 on a single Sunday in August.

The dirt bikes and ATVs are not street legal to begin with, lacking several required features like turn signals, brake lights, and mirrors. According to the New York Department of Motor Vehicles, any 1985 or newer motorcycle must be equipped with directional or turn signals that show amber to the front and red or amber to the rear. It must also have an adjustable rear view mirror, a red stop lamp on the back, and a headlamp on the front of the vehicle. None of these things are found on a vast majority of the illegal vehicles that, as Mayor Adams put it, are continuing to terrorize the city.

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