Bike and scooter sharing companies have been cluttering the streets of major cities around the world for some years now. And not everybody’s happy — when they’re not returned to a charging station, they can quickly become a nuisance to pedestrians.
But if the latest reports are to be believed, those scooters and bikes could soon return themselves to a charging station, with no human intervention required, thanks to rideshare giant Uber.
Details are sparse as to what Uber is planning. But 3D Robotics CEO and former Wired editor-in-chief Chris Anderson confirmed that the micromobility robotics team would “live in Uber’s Jump group” in a tweet over the weekend, referring to a scooter company Uber acquired last year.
He also suggested the team could help the company make scooters and bikes autonomous, writing that the devices would be able to “drive themselves to charging or better locations.”
Having bikes and scooters return themselves to chargers could not only declutter streets and sidewalks, but also give Uber a logistical and financial advantage. As of today, other scooter-sharing companies like Lime offer anybody who’s willing to charge its scooters (“Juicers”) a small amount of money (between $5 and $20, depending on a number of factors). Autonomous scooters or bikes could eliminate that need entirely.
But the technology still many years out. After all, we are still in the early stages of figuring out how to share the streets with autonomous vehicles.
READ MORE: Uber e-bikes could drive, park, and charge themselves [TechCrunch]
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