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The Autonomy Paris 2020 international exhibition for sustainable mobility solutions encouraged conversations around the future of micro-mobility. Micro-mobility solutions have taken on new significance and e-scooters will play a role in delivering safe and efficient options for commuters in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. On November 4th, Segway-Ninebot hosted a panel titled, “Will Robots Shape the Future of Micro-Mobility?” This panel brought together researchers and innovators in the field for a deeper discussion on how the future of micro-mobility will be driven by product innovation.

An autonomous scooter holds obvious safety advantages compared to cars. If an accident occurs, the damage should be much less than a vehicle driving at 40 miles per hour. Despite the benefits of micro-mobility, there are still barriers the industry must face, mainly on the technology and bureaucratic side of things.

According to panelist Xiaohu Zhang, Postdoc Fellow, MIT Senseable City Lab the future of micro-mobility will have to step past these barriers. Zhang feels that technology is probably still the main barrier for autonomous scooters, but he also sees city government regulations as being another hurdle to jump over. Especially in light of past frustrations cities had with other services.

Panelist, and Chief Business of Officer Spin, Ben Bear’s perspective on barriers in the industry have changed as of late. Bear previously thought that the regulatory barriers would have been the biggest issue by far in terms of getting these autonomous scooters live. But today, Bear feels that some of the early companies like Tortoise and Segway that introduced this concept have really focused on the potential to solve any problems that may arise such as scooters blocking sidewalks and parking shortages in cities.

Colin Roche, Co-Founder/CEO, Swiftmile, Inc outlined potential solutions to common problems associated with scooter sharing services, such as scooters being left lying around on sidewalks at night. He suggested creating mobility hubs where the scooter essentially drives itself home, parks itself, and connects to the charging system.

The Segway Kickscooter T60 is the world’s first semi-automatic, teleoperating shared scooter and offers an AI-driven ride that is remotely controlled by the Segway cloud platform. T60 features auto-dock return capabilities for charging and automatic fleet regrouping in areas with greater demand.

In a year where health and safety are top of mind, it comes as no surprise that the panelists discussed the safety elements of micro-mobility. Industry experts are working hard to ensure micro-mobility is safe for consumers and can offer affordable, convenient, and efficient transportation options for those looking to avoid mass transit.