by Vivek Kumar
How and why semi-autonomous e-scooters are defining the future path of mobility?
Over the years, the automobile industry has seen a significant rise. With advances in artificial intelligence and autonomous technology, automakers are rapidly turning to driverless vehicles racing to develop autonomous cars. Not only autonomous vehicles but automobiles are also making efforts towards sustainable transportation. The development of e-scooters is a decisive stride towards long-term sustainability. Electric scooters define as the future of urban mobility. They are eco-friendly, noise-free, and pollution-free. As these scooters are already starting to gain traction, many e-scooter makers are now building semi-autonomous e-scooters that can drive autonomously with the least human intervention.
Understanding Semi-Autonomous Vehicles
Semi-autonomous vehicles are those vehicles that require the least human intervention. They typically use advanced driver assistant technologies to minimize the effort required to manoeuvre the vehicle.
Concerns around enhanced safety and security are relentlessly powering the customers’ demand for semi-autonomous and autonomous vehicle technologies. The adoption of these technologies may differ in different regions. The economically advanced countries, or developing countries, have already adopted semi-autonomous and autonomous technologies. For example, Blind Spot Detection (BSD), Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), Adaptive Front Lights (AFL), Intelligent Park Assist (IPA) and Lane Keep Assist (LKA).
Electric scooters, dockless, shared bikes and other vehicle types are significantly reducing the physical footprint needed to move people from one place to another, over relatively short distances. These vehicle services are known as micro-mobility, and these services have resonated with consumers, as evinced by their rapid adoption over just the last several months.
As electric scooters are becoming ubiquitous in the modern transportation ecosystem, giving them some sort of autonomy makes a considerable change in the e-scooter landscape.
In August 2019, Beijing-based e-scooter maker Segway Ninebot unveiled a new e-scooter that can drive autonomously to its charging stations. The e-scooter, dubbed as KickScooter T60, has reportedly been said to be controlled remotely from the cloud. In a chat with Reuters, Ninebot chairman and CEO Gao Lufeng explained that “AI-driven e-scooters could lower operators’ costs of maintenance and improve the economics of scooter sharing.”
In 2018, more than 85,000 dockless electric scooters hit streets in the United States. These e- scooters were rented for 38.5 million trips, making them the most prevalent form of shared micro-mobility, according to the National Association of City Transportation. This increasing growth and popularity of these scooters indicate the future of electric scooters is here to stay.
Flo Mobility, a Bengaluru-based two-wheeler autonomous vehicle developer, is harnessing the power of autonomous technology. The company is building semi-autonomous e-scooters, utilizing computer vision capabilities, artificial intelligence for obstacle identification, robotics and the Internet of Things sub-systems.
Giving Autonomy to E-Scooters
Key players in the electric scooter scenario understand the value of autonomous technologies that are worth pursuing. Tortoise, an autonomous delivery company, builds technology that coalesces driverless and remote-controlled features. These features can be integrated into any vehicle type – e-scooter, and shared, dockless vehicles. The purpose behind this is to allow rentable scooters and bikes that are currently being scattered around cities to self-deploy where needed to more readily match supply to demand, simplifying retrieval, charging, and replacement. Autonomous vehicles that move without direct human intervention will significantly ease the major logistical burden of companies. They will also reduce clutter on streets and sidewalks for cities.
Some of the top e-scooter companies and startups in the world are Lime, Bird, Tier, Bounce, Voi Technology, Ather Energy, Wheels, Wind Mobility, Dott, Scoot, Hero Electric, Etergo, and others.