Uber is hiring for a program dedicated for integrating self-driving technology into its bikes and scooters, announced 3D Robotics CEO Chris Anderson. Uber had to pull its self-driving cars off the road following a lethal accident. However, the ride-sharing company will “continue to focus on self-driving cars” primarily, he added.
The new division, Micromobility Robotics, will live inside Uber’s JUMP group – the team working on its shared electric bikes and scooters. The new division will be exploring ways to develop autonomous scooters and bikes that can drive themselves to the locations riders want them to be. It can also mean that these bikes can pull themselves to the charging station when needed.
This feature not only makes autonomous bikes less reliant on humans for charging, but it will also boost vehicle availability when combined with Uber’s swappable batteries technology. For example, Uber can immediately redeploy the bike or scooter by quickly swapping in a fully-charged battery once a vehicle makes it back to the warehouse after a ride. Uber announced its next-gen of JUMP bikes with diagnostic capabilities and swappable batteries, in December last year.
That said, Uber hasn’t revealed its exact plans regarding the new team or its actual functions. Given that the hiring for the Micromobility Robotics team has only just begun, it’s going to be a while before we see the fruits of whatever Uber is planning.
But, if the company is planning to build “vehicles that can take care of themselves” then, this would give it a way to stand out from its competitors. This might even help Uber save money in the long run as it wouldn’t need to hire all those contractors to charge or collect the bikes and keep these transportation options running.