NO FREE RIDES

Self-driving taxi startup Voyage hints that its rides will be free—and potentially supported by ads

When you hail an Uber or Lyft, you’re expected to pay for the ride. It’s how things work in the physical world: You pay for a good or service.

But on the internet, not so much. Companies like Facebook and Google can sell your data and attention to advertisers, which supports the free services we use everyday. You’re still paying for the service, but you just don’t need your credit card.

Oliver Cameron, CEO of self-driving taxi startup Voyage, suggested last night on Twitter that his company would pursue a similar model, where transportation is free or exceedingly cheap—and then hedged on whether he was pursuing an ad-supported model.

The Glomar Response came when Cameron responded to a Twitter user asking how Voyage intended to offer its ride-sharing service for free. Observe the Tweeters in their natural habitat:

At least anecdotally, the Glomar Response is used when someone wants to acknowledge the truth but cannot explicitly do so.

Cameron also revealed some of the ride-sharing app’s functionality, like controlling the AC and music in the car. While the car will have a driver, Cameron previously told Quartz that Voyage doesn’t want customers getting used to having someone there, in anticipation for looser regulations that don’t require a safety driver.

Cameron declined to share more information, but added, “Free transportation would fundamentally change where and how people live though, wouldn’t it?”

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