Uber May Soon Have Self-Driving Electric Scooters and Bikes

Jan 22, 2019

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Once again, Uber is exploring self-piloting technology.

This time, the ride-hailing giant is focusing its efforts on “micromobility,” self-piloted bikes and scooters, which will be able to drive themselves to charging stations or to better locations. While few details are available, Uber announced this latest development at a DIY Robotics event over the weekend, according to 3D Robotics CEO Chris Anderson.

Anderson further said that the self-piloted division will fall under Uber’s JUMP group, which manages the shared electric bikes and scooters program. According to the Telegraph, Uber has already begun hiring for the micromobility division.

This development would be a huge efficiency and cost improvement in the scooter-sharing world, where companies such as Bird, Lime, Uber and Lyft currently pay contractors to collect, recharge and restock scooters at the end of the night or when batteries run low. The autonomous technology would allow Uber to increase its profits by cutting out the human middleman element. The company plans to “improve safety, rider experience, and operational efficiency of our shared electric scooters and bicycles through the application of sensing and robotics technologies.”

Uber’s self-driving car division was temporarily shut down last year following a fatal crash. Police in Arizona said that the safety operator who was overseeing the trip was distracted and streaming a television show on her phone before the crash. In December, Uber received permission to resume testing the self-driving cars in Pittsburgh.

TPG reached out to Uber, but the company declined to comment on the technology development.

Featured photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images.

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