China’s Ninebot unveils scooters that drive themselves to charging stations

BEIJING/HONG KONG (Reuters) – Segway-Ninebot Group, a Beijing-based electrical scooter maker, on Friday unveiled a scooter that may return itself to charging stations with no driver, a possible boon for the burgeoning scooter-sharing trade.

Ninebot President Wang Ye unveils semi-autonomous scooter KickScooter T60 that may return itself to charging stations with no driver, at a Segway-Ninebot product launch occasion in Beijing, China August 16, 2019. REUTERS/Florence Lo

Ninebot stated Uber and Lyft, the ride-hailing giants which can be increasing into scooter-sharing, can be among the many prospects for the brand new semi-autonomous autos which can be anticipated to hit roads early subsequent 12 months.

Gao Lufeng, Ninebot chairman and chief government, instructed Reuters in an interview that AI-driven scooters, managed remotely from the cloud, may radically enhance the economics of scooter-sharing.

“The ache level for scooter operators is to higher keep the scooters at a decrease price,” he stated. Presently, operators of scooter sharing fleets have to gather the machines manually for re-charging.

Fashioned by the 2015 mixture of China’s Ninebot and U.S. transportation pioneer Segway, the corporate has quietly grow to be the most important provider for scooter-sharing corporations corresponding to Fowl and Lime.

“I imagine scooters will change bicycles because the prime answer for micro-mobility,” Gao stated. “It’s human nature to avoid wasting power when commuting.”

The scooter-sharing fad was triggered two years in the past with the launch of Fowl in California. Enterprise-capital buyers have since poured lots of of thousands and thousands of {dollars} into the sector, and fleets of electric-powered scooters now function in cities throughout the U.S. and Europe.

Segway-Ninebot Group has utilized to checklist its shares on the China’s new Nasdaq-style board for homegrown tech companies, the STAR Market. The corporate bought 1.6 million scooters in 2018, in accordance with a prospectus filed in April.

Julie Wooden, a spokeswoman for Lyft, stated the corporate was all the time all for seeing the most recent improvements from potential companions like Ninebot. “However we haven’t but made any commitments round this product,” she stated in an e-mail.

Uber didn’t instantly reply to emailed requests for remark.

The brand new scooters can be priced at near 10,000 yuan ($1,420), greater than the corporate’s conventional scooters, which it sells to scooter corporations for $100-$300.

The brand new machines will begin street testing subsequent month and can be largely commercialized within the first quarter of 2020.

The corporate additionally launched two self-driving supply robots — one for out of doors supply, the opposite for indoor providers.

Ninebot stated the unmanned supply robots will initially serve the meals supply trade in China.

The corporate is in talks with meals supply operators, together with Meituan Dianping and Alibaba Group’s, to start service by the primary half of subsequent 12 months.

Reporting by Yingzhi Yang in BEIJING and Brenda Goh in HONG KONG; Enhancing by Darren Schuettler & Simon Cameron-Moore

Author: Maxwell C.

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