China’s Ninebot unveils scooters that drive themselves to charging stations

BEIJING/HONG KONG (Reuters) – Segway-Ninebot Group, a Beijing-based electrical scooter maker, on Friday unveiled a scooter that may return itself to charging stations with out a driver, a possible boon for the burgeoning scooter-sharing trade.

Ninebot stated Uber and Lyft, the ride-hailing giants which can be increasing into scooter-sharing, could be among the many clients for the brand new semi-autonomous autos which can be anticipated to hit roads early subsequent yr.

Gao Lufeng, Ninebot chairman and chief government, advised Reuters in an interview that AI-driven scooters, managed remotely from the cloud, might radically enhance the economics of scooter-sharing.

“The ache level for scooter operators is to raised preserve the scooters at a decrease price,” he stated. Presently, operators of scooter sharing fleets have to gather the machines manually for re-charging.

Shaped by the 2015 mixture of China’s Ninebot and U.S. transportation pioneer Segway, the corporate has quietly develop into the most important provider for scooter-sharing corporations resembling Chicken and Lime.

“I imagine scooters will exchange bicycles because the prime resolution for micro-mobility,” Gao stated. “It’s human nature to avoid wasting power when commuting.”

The scooter-sharing fad was triggered two years in the past with the launch of Chicken in California. Enterprise-capital buyers have since poured lots of of hundreds of thousands of {dollars} into the sector, and fleets of electric-powered scooters now function in cities throughout the U.S. and Europe.

Segway-Ninebot Group has utilized to record its shares on the China’s new Nasdaq-style board for homegrown tech companies, the STAR Market. The corporate offered 1.6 million scooters in 2018, in accordance with a prospectus filed in April.

Lyft and Uber didn’t instantly reply to emailed requests for remark.

The brand new scooters can be priced at near 10,000 yuan ($1,420), greater than the corporate’s conventional scooters, which it sells to scooter corporations for $100-$300.

The brand new machines will begin highway testing subsequent month and can be largely commercialized within the first quarter of 2020.

The corporate additionally launched two self-driving supply robots — one for outside supply, the opposite for indoor companies.

Ninebot stated the unmanned supply robots will initially serve the meals supply trade in China.

The corporate is in talks with meals supply operators, together with Meituan Dianping and Alibaba Group’s Ele.me, to start service by the primary half of subsequent yr.

Reporting by Yingzhi Yang in BEIJING and Brenda Goh in HONG KONG; Enhancing by Himani Sarkar and Darren Schuettler

Our Requirements:The Thomson Reuters Belief Rules.

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