Uber hit a major road-block when its self-driving cars were banned from hitting the roads following a fatal accident last year. The company brought its autonmous cars back in the road only last month after being off the roads for nearly nine months. And now the word is that the company is planning to expand its autonomous vehicle plan beyond cars to include bikes and scooters.
According to a report by Tech Crunch, the details about Uber’s plan are ‘scarce’ at the moment. However, the company’s CEO of 3D Robotics division, Chris Anderson, has already confirmed that the team responsible for developing self-driving bikes and scooters will operate under Uber’s Jump division, that provides electric bikes and scooters on rent to customers.
To put it simply, company’s Micromobility Robotics team, that would work on the self-driving bikes and scooters, would essentially develop bikes and scooters that can drive themselves to the charging stations or to the locations where users need them.
Notably, the company has already started hiring people for revelant positions, such as software engineers, hardware engineers, mechanical engineers, product management and operations among others, in its Micromobility Robotics team.
“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,” Uber’s Advanced Training Group wrote in a Google Form soliciting applications wrote, as per the publication.
Uber recently introduced a series of changes to its Jump e-bikes. The upgrades not only make the Jump bikes easy to charge but they also a whole lot tougher than the previous model as they require less repairs. Additionally, they also feature a separate mount for storing smartphones and a cable lock at the back that makes them resistant to vandalism.
With the San Francisco, California based ride-hailing service planning to expand the foot hold of its e-bikes, the next logical step would be to make them smarter. This would greatly reduce the operational cost for the company by eliminating the need to have contractors picking up the bikes from designated points. However, the company will have to ensure that it avoids accidents, similar to the one in Tempe last year, in order to remain afloat in the market.