Ford-owned Spin partners with Tortoise to bring remotely operated e-scooters to cities in N America & Europe in 2021
Spin, the micromobility subsidiary of Ford Motor Company, announced an exclusive international alliance with software company Tortoise to bring Spin S-200 remotely-operated e-scooters to cities in North America and Europe in 2021.
The company’s new Spin Valet platform makes it possible to operate Spin’s fleet remotely and automatically re-park scooters out of the pathway of pedestrians and other sidewalk or street traffic within seconds. Spin Valet combines Tortoise’s software with the front and rear-facing built-in cameras on the S-200. This technology will eventually make it possible for a rider to “hail” an e-scooter several blocks to a desired pick-up location.
The first S-200 fleet will be piloted in Boise, Idaho this Spring. The City will receive up to 300 S-200 e-scooters. This is the first time the technology will be launched with a robust, more stable three-wheeled e-scooter, which can better withstand different road conditions due to its enhanced suspension. S-200 will offer a safer ride with three independent braking systems (regenerative rear brake, front and rear drum brakes) and turn signals (on handlebars and near the rear wheel).
After a ride is terminated by the individual riding the e-scooter, the remote operations team may reposition the scooter (at a low-speed—max 3 mph) if the vehicle is blocking the sidewalk, crosswalk, or a handicapped space. The same repositioning can take place if the vehicle is parked at a destination where it’s unlikely to get another trip.
Later this year, Spin will offer in-app “scooter hailing” that allows customers to request an e-scooter in advance or in real-time. Operations staff will remotely direct any S-200 to the desired location. Eventually, battery-depleted scooters will also automatically go to the nearest Spin Hub for charging.
Over the next year, Spin will explore opportunities to bring S-200 to North American and European cities that are interested in remote-controlled operations and a more robust e-scooter model.
Co-developed by Spin and Segway-Ninebot, the S-200 is equipped with the latest computer vision, machine learning, and robotics technologies, featuring an advanced visual navigation system.
Although this is a small step for Segway’s robotic technology to power Spin’s new generation of shared scooters, the S-200 for the first time, we believe this is a significant development that marks the beginning of robotic technology that may unlock the full potential of micromobility, in practical and operational use. We look forward to seeing the real impact of the technology that this pilot program will bring.—Tony Ho, Segway’s Vice President of Global Business Development
Founded in 2019 and headquartered in Mountain View, CA, Tortoise powers low-speed remote repositioning for light electric vehicles such as delivery bots, shared scooters, cleaning robots, and more. Segway-Ninebot is a global enterprise in the field of intelligent short-distance transportation and service robots. The company’s businesses are international, selling products in more than 80 countries and regions.