Shared electric scooters need to be collected every day by companies to be recharged and redistributed across the city. The task is quite laborious, but it could be made easier by the startup of a former Uber director.
Tortoise, as it was called, wants to help companies take their scooters to recharge areas or balance supply in a region. To this end, it offers a system that combines autonomous driving with employees who control vehicles remotely.
Tortoise CEO and founder Dmitry Shevelenko explained in an interview with The Verge that the system uses the models together. “Our first deployments will be 100% teleoperated, but over time we will increase the percentage of autonomy,” he explained. “But it will never be fully autonomous.”
In short, the system gives more control to scooters in empty areas, while humans take over in busy areas. The executive, who was Uber’s business development director for four years, says Tortoise shares projects with manufacturers for free.
According to the TechCrunch, companies interested in using the system need to invest around $ 100 per scooter. The value allows them to equip vehicles with items such as radar, processor and two cell phone cameras.
“Basically, we take the components that are inside a smartphone and put them on the outside of the scooter,” said Shevelenko, The Verge. The company also includes support wheels for vehicles, except the one that already has three wheels.
To take your system to the real world, Tortoise has been working with shared scooter manufacturers and services. The startup also approaches municipal representatives, since the circulation of vehicles on its own is not always regulated.
Tortoise is not the only one to invest in the area of semi-autonomous scooters. In August, the KickScooter T60, a model capable of returning to the charging station on its own, was presented by Segway-Ninebot. It will be sold from 2020 for 10,000 yuan (about R $ 5,890).