Uber has been working on autonomous driving technology for its cars over a number of years now, but it looks like the company is looking to add bikes and scooters to its fleet of self-driving offerings as well.
This according to 3D Robotics CEO, Chris Anderson, who shared the news via Twitter, along with an image of a document for Micromobility Robotics. Apparently this new division will aim to develop autonomous alternatives to the to the current lineup of options under the Jump brand, which Uber owns.
Exciting announcement from @UberATG at today's @DIYRobocars event. "Micromobility" = autononomous scooters & bikes that can drive themselves to charging or better locations. Hiring now pic.twitter.com/sOjroo8XZI
— Chris Anderson (@chr1sa) January 20, 2019
It’s unclear at this stage what guise these autonomous bikes and scooters will take, or indeed how these two-wheeled modes of transport will be made to operate by themselves, with balance being one of the major issues we can see.
That doesn’t seem to be worrying Uber much, with The Telegraph already noting that they’ve begun hiring people for this new division of the business.
“The New Mobilities team at Uber is exploring ways to improve safety, rider experience, and operational efficiency of our shared electric scooters and bicycles through the application of sensing and robotics technologies,” explained a Google Forms asking people interested in career in this field.
Also unclear at this stage is where Uber plans to roll out these autonomous vehicles, but with the ride sharing service proving quite popular locally, hopefully Jump’s self-driving technology will be heading to South Africa in the near future.
With Uber’s Jump range of bikes and scooters also being electrified, adding autonomous technology to the mix could help them ensure that these devices get plugged in to charge after someone has ridden them.
The question still remains, however, how are they going to get a bike or scooter to stay upright while operating independently? Perhaps Uber is planning for a new type of vehicle altogether.[Image – TechCrunch]