Curiosity Lab, a 5G-enabled autonomous vehicle and smart city living laboratory, that’s located in Peachtree Corners – a city that lies in Atlanta in the state of Georgia in the United States – is on a mission to solve many of the technology issues facing cities and municipalities around the States.
The city, which is working with two companies, Go X and Tortoise, is on a mission to revolutionise e-scooter mobility by utilising emerging technologies. It’s doing it by introducing the world’s first fleet of teleoperated e-scooters, that’ll be available to the public.
To achieve this, the companies are working together to solve two issues: one that revolves around the pin-pointing of an available scooter, while the other focuses on having scooters return to a home base for safe parking, charging and cleaning.
“An important goal for us was to ensure that residents can enjoy the convenience of using e-scooters, while creating a world first in efficient, organized and advanced micromobility – right here in Peachtree Corners,” said Brian Johnson, city manager of Peachtree Corners.
“As a reflection of our commitment to making cities smarter, we didn’t hesitate to partner with Tortoise to launch the first-ever fleet of self-driving e-scooters to be available for public use. Curiosity Lab empowers innovators like Tortoise and Go X to collaborate and discover other partners to test, prove and deploy novel technologies in a real-world environment.”
As various places start to reopen from lockdown, demand for alternative forms of mobility is at an all-time high. Go X has reported an 86% growth, week-over-week, for the last six weeks. And now, with the industry-first “Hail my Scooter” app, you can have a scooter drive itself to your location.
For example, if someone wants to ride a Go X Apollo scooter, it’ll only require them to press a button through an app, and wait for the scooter to arrive in front of them; think of it like the Tesla’s Smart Summon. Here, the most interesting aspect is that the e-scooters will drive themselves back to a safe parking spot after riders have finished using them. This is made possible with the help of Tortoise’s remote teleoperators.
The initial pilot will run for six months and marks the first time teleoperated e-scooters have been deployed on public streets. To facilitate a new era of e-mobility, Peachtree Corners has had to pass an ordinance (law). This mandate means that all shared micro-mobility devices deployed should be capable of automated repositioning; this is to avoid pavements being cluttered with scooters.
To further make this a viable option in 2020, Go X has implemented health safety measures in order to provide the safest transportation for all. When an e-scooter goes back to base, it’ll be disinfected by a COVID-19-free Go X Apollo employee. Daily checks are conducted to ensure employees don’t have the virus.
“I am excited that we get to introduce the safest transportation solution for the post-COVID-19 world. While we made getting a scooter as magical and easy as ordering an Uber or Lyft car, we also went above and beyond to make to make sure that our vehicles provide the most virus-free ride out there,” said Alexander Debelov, CEO of Go X.
As for Curiosity Lab, it helps companies and startups such as Tortoise and Go X develop, prove and deploy emerging smart city or intelligent mobility technologies within a real-world environment. This means companies can use: 5G connectivity; the city’s infrastructure; have their intellectual property protected; and be in an environment that features general liability insurance for both driven and driverless vehicles.
“Smart city technology like Tortoise’s automated repositioning service is designed to make cities cleaner, safer and more sustainable for everyday citizens,” said Dmitry Shevelenko, co-founder and president of Tortoise. “Curiosity Lab offers a unique opportunity for us to develop and deploy our technology in an environment where people live and work each and every day.”