Innovation

Segway-Ninebot Debuts Self-Driving Electric Scooter

China’s Segway-Ninebot has come up with an answer to everyone’s eScooter charging woes: make one that can drive itself to the charging station, The Verge reported Friday (Aug. 16).

The KickScooter T60, the company’s new self-driving scooter, was recently unveiled at an event in Beijing. The eScooter has two wheels in front and one in the back, and it reportedly guides itself using the cloud and artificial intelligence (AI).

“The pain point for scooter operators is to better maintain the scooters at a lower cost,” Gao Lufeng, Ninebot chairman and chief executive, told Reuters.

Although it’s not expected to go live until early 2020, Ninebot said that Uber and Lyft might be interested in the new scooter.

The self-charging KickScooter T60 is expected to sell for 10,000 yuan ($1,420). Traditional scooters cost $100 to $300.

The company was launched in 2015 as a hybrid of China’s Ninebot and U.S. transportation pioneer Segway, Reuters said. The company quickly went on to become the largest supplier for scooter-sharing companies, such as Bird and Lime.

“I believe scooters will replace bicycles as the prime solution for micro-mobility,” Gao said. “It’s human nature to save energy when commuting.”

Earlier this year, Segway-Ninebot unveiled a delivery robot during CES 2019, the annual consumer electronics trade show in Las Vegas.

Dubbed the Loomo Delivery robot, it relies on artificial intelligence to deliver packages autonomously to their final destinations. The idea is to have the bot deliver packages in office buildings and malls. The bot has a built-in camera and uses algorithms to get around and avoid obstacles in its path.

Segway isn’t the only company eyeing the delivery market as its next bastion of growth. Last year, the delivery company Postmates announced the upcoming launch of Serve, a semi-autonomous robot that uses cameras and Lidar to deliver food orders on city streets. The bot is also controlled remotely by a human, who can step in and take over control if necessary.

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