Driverless scooters that motor to charging stations

The ride sharing industry is on the brink of a major revolutionary change with the unveiling of a new scooter that drives itself to a charging station without a human rider.

Credit: REUTERS/Florence Lo

Segway-Ninebot a joint venture between Chinese electronics maker Ninebot and US scooter company Segway, revealed the new KickScooter T60 at an event in Beijing.

In an interview with Reuters, Ninebot Chairman Gao Lufeng said the scooters are remotely controlled from the cloud and use artificial intelligence to make their way to charging stations without human riders.

Gao said the scooters could radically change the ever-expanding scooter sharing industry.

The challenge for scooter operators he said is to maintain the fleet at a low cost, but that can be difficult when operators have to collect the scooters manually for recharging.

Scooters that can return to charging stations themselves would reduce that burden.

Mr Gao said he thought scooters would eventually replace bicycles as the major method of micro-mobility.

He suggested ride sharing giants such as Uber and Lyft would be among the clients for the scooter.

Neither company has committed to taking on the vehicles.

Road testing of the scooters will start next month with the first scooters potentially on sale mid next year.

The KickScooter T60 will sell for about $2,100 AUD.

Ninebot also has launched a new unmanned delivery Robot which will be used for the food delivery industry in China.