Last time we checked, iPhones still lacked opposable thumbs — but if several apps and/or web services have their way, hitching a ride with someone through your handset will be easier, and a lot safer, than standing by that off ramp with YOUR thumb sticking out.
Over in Ireland, Avego is prototyping a service that lets drivers and prospective passengers connect and share rides. After installing the app in your iPhone, you map out your upcoming route, which is uploaded to Avego's servers. Potential riders located on your route will be alerted as to your travel plans; if they don't have iPhones of their own, they can check the Avego website or get text messages. But unlike traditional hitchhiking, there are absolutely no free rides; riders are charged US$0.35/mile, which is split 85/15 between driver and Avego.
Not located in the Emerald Isles? San Francisco-based Carticipate performs many of the same functions, with two major differences: it's strictly iPhone-to-iPhone, and it's free.
[Via the New York Times]