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Segway-Ninebot announces an e-scooter that can drive itself back to a charging station

By Polycount · 7 replies
Aug 16, 2019
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  1. While walking is an obvious way to avoid heavy traffic, it's also very slow. Scooter sharing services and companies aim to bridge the gap somewhat by letting people rent out smart electric scooters to zip around town. Typically, scooters of this kind have built-in tech that gauges how long a given user has operated them.

    Uber and Lyft have already begun to expand their business into this market, and now, Chinese company Segway-Ninebot wants to help them out.

    As Reuters reports, Segway-Ninebot has developed a new type of scooter with semi-autonomous capabilities. It has three wheels, electric power, and the ability to drive itself back to its charging station when somebody's ride time is up. This could save companies like Uber and Lyft a significant amount of time and money, especially as the market grows over the next few years.

    Right now, scooter-sharing companies have to collect discharged scooters manually; either through incentivizing users to ride them back before the battery runs out, or by sending out paid operators to pick them up. Obviously, this is far from ideal.

    Segway-Ninebot reportedly said Uber and Lyft will be among the first customers to purchase their new scooter. However, a Lyft spokesperson told The Verge that they "haven't yet made any commitments" regarding this product, so Segway-Nintebot's claims may be a bit premature.

    At any rate, assuming the scooters are priced fairly and there are no other hurdles to such a transaction, snagging a few units for their respective fleets seems like a no-brainer for Uber and Lyft. The dream for these tech companies is likely a fully-automatic, streamlined ride-sharing service in the future; for both cars and scooters. Self-return and self-charging capabilities for scooters are an obvious next step toward that goal.

    Regardless, only time will tell whether or not Uber, Lyft, or other companies will adopt these scooters. Perhaps they would prefer to develop their own autonomous technology, as the former has already begun to do.

    Image credit: Shutterstock, TechCrunch

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  2. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 5,684   +4,028

    For those cities that are experimenting with scooters, there would be another MAJOR improvement they could provide. Have specific "dispatch" sites where the scooters can be found and once the scooter was turned loose by the rider (say 5 minutes afterward) the scooter would return to the dispatch site. This would eliminate all the issues with scooters parked just anywhere (especially at the bars) and stop the clutter that cities like Nashville are complaining about. That might make the scooter a lot more accepted than it is now.
     
  3. m-tec

    m-tec TS Booster Posts: 73   +42

    It seems crazy that these devices are illegal on the pavments (sidewalk) and streets in the UK, but they are still sold here?!
     
    Steveb8189 likes this.
  4. mbk34

    mbk34 TS Rookie Posts: 35

    Wouldn't it be better just to have an app that pays students etc to ride the scooter to the nearest charging station. If they had a carry handle so they could carry another scoot at the same time then so much the better.
     
  5. ShagnWagn

    ShagnWagn TS Guru Posts: 839   +644

    Thus the purpose of this effort would be wasted. "Manual" relocation but humans.

    "when you concentrate thousands of people in a relatively small area"

    Thus the whole problem with society in these areas. Crime goes up exponentially the tighter people are packed in like sardines. The frustration of these conditions takes people down on their attitudes and outlook on life. Why do city planners force people into this? Because of their love of money.

    "While walking is an obvious way to avoid heavy traffic"

    And increased health. But, these companies don't care. Making a business on enticing people to be lazy and fat, leading to unhealthy lifestyles. For the love of money. Congrats!

    Not only are these things a nuisance, an eyesore of trash/littering, and dangerous to themselves and everyone around them, but now you have these things hitting and causing damage to objects (cars), and people/kids (and on their own now???). Class action lawsuit coming in 3...2...1...
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2019
  6. mbk34

    mbk34 TS Rookie Posts: 35

    The original problem is how do you get the scooters back to where they're needed. Having a high tech solution like the one in the report is interesting but it seems (to me) totally unnecessary if you can provide simple incentives to folk to return them. It's a simple thing to implement and would result in less littering of scooters.

    I think the aim of these devices is to get people out of cars. The idea of fewer cars in city centres and less pollution is quite appealing to me. Having cheap shared transportation means less vehicles parked everywhere also - I live in London and nearly every street is jam packed with expensive vehicles that rarely move. If you want to ban vehicles for having collisions then I suspect cars have far more accidents and cause far more deaths than electric scooters.
     
  7. ShagnWagn

    ShagnWagn TS Guru Posts: 839   +644

    "If you want to ban vehicles" These scooters need to be banned. Not cars. Use the legs God gave you, or we will look like humans in Wall-E. I was referring to these driving themselves and hitting objects and cars. I can see them doing hit-and-runs as well.
    How are you saying vehicles cause far more accidents/deaths on inner city streets? Scooters injure people all the time. Have you not seen all of the articles and reports? Not just people riding them (plus without helmets), but people tripping over them. My shoes and a pair of pants have been damaged by them. Then there is people like me who want to hurl them off garage parking like the trash/litter they are.
     
  8. mbk34

    mbk34 TS Rookie Posts: 35

    I certainly don't want to ban vehicles, I own 4 motorbikes and 2 cars, but I can see the writing on the wall and shared electric vehicles do seem to be the way forward. I simply believe in using whatever transport works best. When living in France I used to commute 6 miles to work by bicycle. When working in Switzerland and only commuting 2 miles I used a kick scooter (non electric). I currently live in London where even the thought of driving a car gives me the shivers (congestion charges, traffic jams and the difficult of finding anywhere to park) so I commute by motorcycle.

    We both seem to agree that the solution proposed in the report is wrong, you from a safety aspect and me because it seems like an unnecessarily complex solution when a simple answer is available. I have seen the articles you refer to but I'm not swayed by alarmist journalism (is there any other type these days?). In the UK we had 11 deaths caused by electric scooter last year, we had 1800 deaths by car in the same period (and 26,000 serious injuries).

    Perhaps proper legislation is the way forward where all road users need to have a driving license, they should drive safely and obviously be sober. Perhaps if these things could be folded and clipped to a wall after use then they'd be less of a trip hazard. They could also be charged from where they hung on the wall.
     

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