Spin rolling out remote-control e-scooter to park them properly

Spin is an electric scooter company that operates in various cities around the United States, providing mobility scooters that can be rented and parked when done. However, Spin says an improperly parked scooter can be a hazard to pedestrians, particularly those with disabilities. In San Francisco, California, where Spin has its largest fleet of scooters, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Authority requires operators to respond to improperly parked scooters in under two hours and can fine operators $100 for each incorrectly part scooter.

The point of the fine and the response requirement is to prevent scooters from cluttering sidewalks. The company says it takes that seriously and its average response time over the last three months is 54 minutes. Spin wants to respond even faster and has begun looking at ways to reposition scooters without employees having to respond. To make that happen, Spin has announced an alliance with Tortoise on a new scooter called the Spin S-200.

The scooter is a remotely-operated e-scooter and will be deployed to cities in North America and Europe in 2021. The scooter will be part of the Spin Valet platform, making it possible to remotely operate the Spin fleet and reposition scooters out of the way of pedestrians and other traffic within seconds. The new scooter was co-developed with Segway-Ninebot, and the first pilot city will be Boise, Idaho.

Starting this spring, Spin plans to deploy 300 scooters for the program and use what it learns there to inform future programs with partners worldwide. Spin Valet will leverage front and rear cameras built into the new S-200 scooters and GPS to allow precision location. Remote operators from Tortoise will be able to safely relocate the vehicle at a speed of 2 to 3 mph allowing for repositioning of improperly parked scooters.

The platform will also allow the repositioning of scooters into one location to be used during times of high demand. The scooters will also feature swappable batteries, and the company says eventually, riders will be able to hail an e-scooter and have it come to the pickup location.