The Uber-owned bike and scooter-sharing scheme Jump is planning to roll out autonomous vehicle technology, according to a CEO of a Robotics company, that would see its fleet of hire e-bikes and e-scooters driving themselves to charging points and pick-up zones.
Jump is owned by Uber, and the tweeter in question Chris Anderson later clarified that Jump would be overseeing the robotics division working on the project, and not Uber ATG directly. According to the Telegraph Uber are already hiring for engineers to develop the autonomous system, which will be known as a “micromobility robotics” team.
The details are pretty scarce at this point, but it’s thought if all goes to plan, the bikes will be integrated with tech that will allow them to drive themselves to charging points at dedicated docking stations and also drive to optimal pick-up spots for customers. It sounds like a good idea in theory, but as outlined in the Twitter thread below, there are a number of issues that could potentially arise; the cost of buying up land to house charging points, the threat of vandalism as bikes ride themselves across town and the complexity of mounting GPS and camera systems on the bike are just some of the possible problems.
Thread:— (@EricPaulDennis) January 21, 2019
Uber has announced an effort to deploy autonomous scooters and bicycles.
This is the worst new #mobility idea yet.
If I can't convince you that this is an insane waste of time by the end of this thread, I shouldn't have my job.https://t.co/9FVN6kelxa
Whether the project will ever come to fruition remains to be seen, but we'll be keeping an eye out for possible developments over the next few months...