Spin, the micromobility subsidiary of Ford Motor Company, joined forces with software company Tortoise to bring Spin S-200 remotely-operated e-scooters to cities in North America and Europe in 2021.
Co-developed by Spin and Segway-Ninebot, the S-200 is equipped with the latest computer vision, machine learning, and robotics technologies, featuring an advanced visual navigation system.
Its new “Spin Valet” allows you to remotely operate Spin’s fleet and automatically re-park scooters out of the pathway of pedestrians and other sidewalk or street traffic within seconds. The Valet combines Tortoise’s software with the front and rear-facing built-in cameras on the S-200. The technology will eventually make it possible for a rider to “hail” e-scooter several blocks to the desired pick up location.
Starting this spring, Spin plans to start testing remote-operated scooters in Boise, Idaho, which will receive up to 300 S-200 e-scooters. This is the first time that this technology will be launched with a more robust and stable three-wheel scooter, which can better withstand different road conditions thanks to its improved suspension. The S-200 model will offer a safer ride with three independent braking systems – regenerative rear brake, front and rear drum brakes – and turn signals (on handlebars and near the rear wheel).
“There has been a lot of fanfare around the potential of remote-controlled e-scooters, but this partnership marks a turning point in tangible operational plans to bring them to city streets,” said Ben Bear, Chief Business Officer at Spin. “In addition to providing reliability to consumers and more order to city streets, this could significantly improve unit economics, help reduce carbon emissions and the operational work required to maintain and reposition fleets.“
After the e-scooter rider completes the journey, the remote operations team may reposition the scooter at a low-speed – max 3-mph, if the vehicle is blocking the sidewalk, crosswalk, or a handicapped space. This technology will also allow the unit to be moved around in case it is standing in a place where it is unlikely to get another ride.
Later this year, Spin will offer the ability to order a scooter via the app either in advance or in real-time, allowing operations staff to remotely direct any S-200 to the desired location. Over time, it is expected that the battery depleted scooters will also automatically go to the nearest Spin Hub for charging.