Automobility LA - S11

SPECIAL ADVERTISING SUPPLEMENT

driving, Shevelenko says. Overseen by human operators at a remote facility, scooters, or e-bikes then can be moved to an approved parking spot, a
transit hub, a service location, or an overnight storage lot. Operating autonomously and on electric power, they don't need to take
the shortest or most popular routes, either, but can avoid
adding to traffic congestion.
Last month, Tortoise announced its first partnership-
with Peachtree Corners, an Atlanta suburb-to help provide a lunchtime scooter service in its congested Atlanta
Shevelenko
Tech Park. In its business model, Tortoise doesn't build
or operate the vehicles or services; it provides the autonomous-driving software, technical know-how, and remote teleoperations center, plus the insurance and liability necessary to cover any accidents.
Another priority for micromobility companies is engineering "the right
tool for the right job," Duncan says. That means a scooter that is comfortable to ride (think sitting rather than standing) and also durable and easy to
maintain.
"A big goal should be having modular parts that are easily serviceable or
replaceable," she says. "If a scooter's brake pads wear out after a bunch of trips
down the hills of Seattle, you shouldn't have to scrap the entire scooter. And
battery swaps should be fast."

Duncan says many companies have been going to market with as much
as 50% extra inventory to account for the downtime necessary for repairs
and battery swaps.
"They have 1,500 scooters in order to keep 1,000 in the field," she says.
Duncan's pitch is to scooter manufacturers: "Scooter companies are so
bad at hardware and supply chain," she says. "Think of everything that's happened with Tesla as an example of what happens when techs try to make a
vehicle. It has been amazing, but often precarious."
Tortoise's Shevelenko agrees. "Asking a scooter operator to build the first
self-driving scooter is like expecting Avis to build a self-driving car," he says.
Cities also need to play a ramped-up role in making micromobility happen, perhaps most important by investing in infrastructure.
"One mile of protected bike lanes-think of the number of trips that can
facilitate and the commercial opportunities bike lanes bring to the neighborhood," Duncan says. "Riders are moving at a rate of speed where they can
see it all."
As more people around the world move into urban environments, with
increasing congestion and environmental concerns, supporting micromobility operators with bike lanes and proper regulation is "a good investment
in livable communities," Duncan says. "Think of it as a part of building cities
that work for everyone." l

NOVEMBER 2019 · AUTOMOBILITY LA · 11



Automobility LA

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Automobility LA

Automobility LA - Intro
Automobility LA - S1
Automobility LA - S2
Automobility LA - S3
Automobility LA - S4
Automobility LA - S5
Automobility LA - S6
Automobility LA - S7
Automobility LA - S8
Automobility LA - S9
Automobility LA - S10
Automobility LA - S11
Automobility LA - S12
Automobility LA - S13
Automobility LA - S14
Automobility LA - S15
Automobility LA - S16
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