Electric scooters can “automatically drive” and will run back to the charging station to charge themselves.
If one day you find that electric scooters can “walk around” on their own streets, don’t think that this is a spooky event. It is likely that they have achieved “freedom of driving”.
California-based startup Tortoise is developing a technology-based autonomous driving technology that can be applied to bicycles and electric scooters. It is said that this technology allows scooters to drive themselves to charging stations and other places where they are needed, such as autonomous The suburbs open to urban areas with large passenger traffic.
According to a video released by Tortoise, an electric scooter was autopilotted with the help of a wheel stabilizer, and it was completed with a few difficult rides, which was as proficient as manual. The operation of this stream of water is heart-rending: the electric scooter is the first tool to complete the autopilot layout in the field of travel.
Of course, the Tortoise technology is not very mature. One of the things that needs to be improved is that if the scooters fall, they can't automatically climb up and have to wait for manual rescue. However, the scooter will automatically notify the operator via a remote operating system to request manual intervention. Tortoise said that their technology will first try to test on a simple route with low traffic, and then gradually expand to a location with large traffic and complicated road conditions.
It is envisioned that if the technology proves to be safe and reliable and put into the market, it can improve the economics of sharing electric scooters from the root.
As with shared bicycles, costly maintenance and maintenance is also a major pain point for sharing electric scooters. Operators sharing scooters must manually place and collect these vehicles, which makes operating costs high; and electric scooters must also be charged at regular intervals, which makes the cost even worse.
Therefore, for operators, the automatic driving of electric scooters means lower costs, and then there will be more surplus funds to seize the market, and the size of this market can not be underestimated.
In 2018, the shared bicycles that once flourished in China suffered from the capital winter. Many operators closed their doors and the domestic market was chickens. At the same time, however, the electric scooter boom represented by Bird and Lime swept through Silicon Valley, attracting the entry of a large number of top investment institutions, and even known as the next battlefield in the shared travel field.
Taking Bird as an example, under the push of multiple rounds of investment, Bird's worth has doubled, making it one of the shortest companies in the history of the company from the founding of the company to the “one billion dollar valuation”. One year and three months.
Since then, Uber, Audi, Waymo and other well-known companies have entered the market, and start-ups are endless.
So what is the market size of electric scooters? From one of them, as of December 31, 2018, the Lime platform has completed 26 million rides, and the average daily usage rate of each electric scooter is 8- 12 times.
According to Boston Consulting, a world-renowned think tank, it is estimated that the market for electric scooters will reach 40-500 billion US dollars by 2025.
Therefore, it is not surprising that shared scooters are seen by industry insiders as another slogan in the field of sharing bicycles. So in terms of how to seize market share and win more consumers, the development of self-driving scooters has become a new idea.
In January of this year, Uber was announced to integrate automation technology into its shared bicycle and shared electric scooter projects, enabling bicycles and scooters to have automatic driving functions.
In addition, the "Nine Robots", which acquired the American balance car singer Segway, first released an unmanned electric scooter in August this year, which functions similarly to the above-mentioned Tortoise.
Undoubtedly, the landing of autonomous driving technology can solve the problem of high maintenance cost and high operating cost of the shared scooter, but the focus is on whether it can be applied to reality and can bear high manufacturing costs, which will become two important Consideration.