Don’t call Ghostbusters if you see a scooter riding without a rider in downtown Boise, Idaho. Spin, owned by Ford, has developed a surprisingly advanced electric scooter called S-200 that can be controlled remotely.
Spin – which Ford bought in 2018 and calls its micro-mobility subsidiary – explained that it had given the S-200 three wheels for improved stability, better braking and to make sure it stays without a kickstand. Users will notice a difference while driving: it is said to be safer than a two-wheeler, and pedestrians don’t have to jump over stray S-200s while walking to the corner shop.
Being self-contained, an operator can park it remotely thanks to an impressive arsenal of technology, including front and rear cameras, computer vision, machine learning, a visual navigation system and software from the Tortoise company. , according to Spin. That means, if a rider exits the S-200 in the middle of a sidewalk, in front of your buddy’s driveway, in a disabled parking lot, or anywhere else it absolutely shouldn’t be, a member of the remote operations team can do it wirelessly. move. Ford points out that operators will also move scooters to the left in areas where they are unlikely to be picked up anymore.
Boise will receive up to 300 remote-controlled S-200s this spring. Walking downtown isn’t going to be as dangerous as it sounds as the scooters are only programmed to move themselves at a speed of up to 3 mph.
Looking ahead, Ford notes that the same technology used to remotely park the S-200 will allow users not to walk a few blocks by luring one to their location with a specially designed smartphone app. in real time or in advance. This feature will be available in late 2021 and will not make the S-200 automated; someone on the other side of the app will guide the scooter to your location. Until then, the Ford and Spin will continue to form partnerships with city authorities interested in deploying self-parking scooters on their sidewalks.
Popularized by the likes of Lime, electric scooters were welcomed with open arms in the mid-2010s, but they quickly became a nuisance in cities and towns around the world. While drivers parking illegally get a ticket, anyone can leave a scooter wherever they want and have someone else worry about moving it if they get in the way. In rare but not unheard of cases, scooters end up in ditches, trees and rivers.
Copenhagen, Denmark, is generally seen as a mobility-friendly city, but the mayor suggested banning electric scooters from the historic center and neighboring neighborhoods by the end of 2020 to restore a semblance of order. On our side of the pond, Miami has suspended its e-scooter program to stop underage riding and sidewalk junk.