Peachtree Corners, a tiny city in the state of Georgia, USA, is launching what it believes is the “world’s first fleet of self-driving e-scooters” as part of styling itself out as a smart city.
Curiosity Lab at Peachtree Corners is on a mission to solve many of the technology issues facing cities and municipalities around the country. For many, the term “smart city” is an unclear concept.
For Peachtree Corners, Georgia, it’s about empowering the latest in emerging technologies to solve real-world problems.
Put into action, the city has been working with two visionary companies, Go X and Tortoise, to revolutionize e-scooter mobility by solving what it describes as “the biggest issues”, namely:
- finding a scooter; and
- returning scooters to a home base for safe parking, charging and cleaning.
As a result, what is described as “the world’s first fleet of teleoperated e-scooters – available for the public” has launched at Peachtree Corners.
As regions begin to reopen from Covid-19 lockdowns, demand for alternative forms of mobility is through the roof – including scooters that have been sanitized.
Go X has reported 86 percent 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.
When a rider wants to grab a Go X Apollo self-driving scooter, it’s as easy as a push of a button in the app. After riders complete trips, the scooters will drive themselves back to a safe parking spot. To make this possible, the e-scooters are repositioned by Tortoise’s remote teleoperators.
The initial pilot will run for six months and marks the first time ever that teleoperated e-scooters will be deployed on public streets.
Peachtree Corners has passed an ordinance mandating that all shared micromobility devices deployed are capable of automated repositioning to increase the accessibility of shared e-scooters, while avoiding the sidewalk clutter challenges that have plagued other cities.
Go X has implemented Covid-19 health safety measures in order to provide the safest transportation solution today.
Each vehicle is thoroughly disinfected upon being remotely repositioned to a home base, and every Go X Apollo employee is required to pass a daily Covid-19 health check.
Each scooter also gets a sticker that shows that it was thoroughly disinfected, and that it is free of Covid-19.
Curiosity Lab helps companies and startups such as Tortoise and Go X develop, prove out and deploy emerging smart city or intelligent mobility technology in a real-world, living environment.
With a single government entity owning and deploying smart city infrastructure, the world’s most innovative companies come to leverage 5G and various forms of cutting-edge connectivity, free use of the city’s infrastructure, intellectual property protection and the world’s first environment to feature general liability insurance for both driven and driverless traffic.
Brian Johnson, the clearly forward-looking city manager of Peachtree Corners, says: “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.
“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.”
Alexander Debelov, CEO of Go X, says: “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.”
Dmitry Shevelenko, co-founder and president of Tortoise, says: “Smart city technology like Tortoise’s automated repositioning service is designed to make cities cleaner, safer and more sustainable for everyday citizens.
“Curiosity Lab offers the unique opportunity for us to develop and deploy our technology in an environment where people live and work each and every day.”
Main picture: Peachtree Corners city manager Brian Johnson waits for one of the self-driving e-scooters.