Spin, the micro-mobility subsidiary of Dearborn-based Ford Motor Co., today announced an exclusive international alliance with software company Tortoise to bring Spin S-200 remotely operated e-scooters to cities in North America and Europe in 2021.
The company’s new Spin Valet platform makes it possible 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.
Spin Valet combines Tortoise’s software with the front- and rear-facing built-in cameras on the S-200. Using a smart device, the technology will eventually make it possible for a rider to “hail” an e-scooter located several blocks away to a desired pick-up location.
The first S-200 fleet will be piloted in Boise, Idaho, this spring. The city will receive up to 300 S-200 e-scooters. It’s the first time the technology will be launched with a more stable three-wheeled e-scooter, which can better withstand different road conditions due to its enhanced suspension.
The S-200 offers 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,” says 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 a ride is terminated by the individual riding the e-scooter, 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. The same repositioning can take place if the vehicle is parked at a destination where it’s unlikely to get another trip.
Later this year, Spin said it will offer in-app “scooter hailing” that allows customers to request an e-scooter in advance or in real-time. Operations staff will remotely direct any S-200 to the desired location. Eventually, battery depleted scooters will also automatically go to the nearest Spin Hub for charging.
Over the next year, Spin will explore opportunities to bring S-200 to North American and European cities that are interested in remote-controlled operations and a more robust e-scooter model.
“We are thrilled to see our software come to life with Spin,” says Dmitry Shevelenko, co-Founder and president of Tortoise. “Spin has worked tirelessly to build trust with cities around the world, and our hope is that this technology only further improves and optimizes the way cities and operators can provide transportation together.”
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.
Headquartered in San Francisco, Spin is a leading micro-mobility companies and a unit of Ford Mobility. Spin has been recognized for launching the first stationless mobility program in the United States and was instrumental in crafting the world’s first mobility permit system.
Founded in 2019 and headquartered in Mountain View, Calif., Tortoise powers low-speed remote repositioning for light electric vehicles like delivery bots, shared scooters, cleaning robots, and more.
Segway-Ninebot is a global enterprise in the field of intelligent short-distance transportation and service robots. The company’s businesses are international, selling products in more than 80 countries and regions.
In related news, Ford today announced it is paying tribute to formidable women with the launch of the Mustang Mach-E #ShowSomeMuscle social media challenge. #ShowSomeMuscle encourages everyday heroes to share their personal stories of perseverance, ingenuity, compassion, creativity, and more.
American ballet dancer Misty Copeland, professional basketball player Gabby Williams, and Ayana Lage, an advocate for social justice, helped kick off the challenge earlier this week. The women are sharing their personal stories of unique strength and triumph, and nominating the inspirational women in their own lives with #ShowSomeMuscle.
Through #ShowSomeMuscle, Ford is providing a platform – and an iconic symbol – to spotlight all of the inspirational women who are redefining what real muscle looks like. To illustrate the spirit of the challenge, Ford is working with Detroit-bred fine artist and muralist Sydney James to create custom artwork for a limited-edition #ShowSomeMuscle T-shirt.
In addition, Ford today announced the Mustang Mach-E, its first global SUV built on an all-new, all-electric platform, will be manufactured in China by Changan Ford for local customers. The vehicle will become available in China later this year.
Mustang Mach-E will offer Chinese customers a smart cockpit equipped with Ford’s latest driver-assist technologies and infotainment system that will be updated over time with advanced firmware over-the-air (FOTA) updates.
The newest generation of Ford Co-Pilot360™ suite of advanced driver-assist technologies and SYNC+ intelligent infotainment system will offer L2+ level automatic driving assistance functions, enabling Mach-E drivers to operate their vehicles hands-free on prequalified sections of divided highways.
Ford states it is the first automobile manufacturer in China to offer cellular vehicle-to-everything (C-V2X) technology in mass production vehicles and will deploy C-V2X in Mach-E to help drivers in China anticipate potential driving hazards and improve traffic safety and efficiency.
Overall, Ford said it will invest more than $11.5 billion in electric vehicle development through 2022. The localized production of Mach-E in China is a key step in the company’s “Best of Ford, Best of China” strategy to offer Chinese customers industry-leading smart vehicles and advanced technologies.