Uber isn’t limiting its autonomous work to passenger vehicles and trucks, according to a new job listing. The company reportedly revealed plans to bring its self-driving technology to electric scooters and bicycles over the weekend, something that will take place through a new division called Micromobility Robotics. The company has starting hiring new employees for this team, but details remain slim.
Uber has been working on autonomous vehicle technology for years, including in Arizona and Pittsburgh. The vehicles could one day be deployed as part of Uber’s existing ride-sharing network, enabling users to summon a vehicle that drives itself rather than one being driven by a human.
A job listing by Uber Advanced Technologies Group indicates that the company is interested in this technology for scooters and bikes in reference to how it can improve safety, efficiency, and the user’s experience. The Micromobility Robotics team will explore the use of both robotic and sensing technologies, but it’s hard to guess whether Uber will ever move forward in deploying the tech in its smaller transportation options.
Though the thought of a bicycle that drives human on its own is fun, the technology would likely have a much more utilitarian purpose: helping manage the fleet, including autonomously moving the devices to areas in a city where demand is higher, as well as designing scooters and bikes that can return themselves to charging stations.
Uber doesn’t have anything else to say about its new team at this time, but the move joins a growing number of companies turning their attention to shared scooters and bicycles. With these options, Uber customers in cities can rent on-demand scooters or bicycles to travel shorter distances between locations, reducing the number of cars on the road while providing something more convenient than buses and trains.