Residents of Peachtree Corners, Georgia, can now hail a remote-controlled scooter, thanks to a unique, recently announced partnership at Curiosity Lab.
Beginning last week, riders in the northwest Atlanta suburb gained the ability to request GoX Apollo e-scooters to arrive at their current location, streamlining the process of finding a fully-charged scooter in the area at any time. After the rider has hopped on and arrived at their destination, these scooters drive themselves back safely to designated parking locations for recharging and a thorough cleaning, in alignment with current health and safety guidelines.
This is the first publicly-available teleoperated e-scooter fleet in the nation. The ambitious venture between GoX, Tortoise and Curiosity Lab is looking to tackle some of the main problems that have plagued e-scooter companies since their inception and arrival on city streets back in the summer of 2018.
Using Tortoises’ remote repositioning technology, scooter “litter” will be effectively eliminated in cities, creating a better user experience for riders, pedestrians and car drivers alike. It may also cut down on the cost associated with picking up and recharging scooters.
“It’s nice to be able to look ahead and think about what the future of micro-mobility looks like with e-scooters,” Curiosity Lab’s Executive Director Betsy Plattenburg told Hypepotemus. Both GoX and Tortoise have been part of Curiosity Lab since its 2019 inception, and have been able to test and iterate their product on the living lab embedded in the streets of Peachtree Corners.
GoX Apollo scooters can be called and delivered along Technology Parkway. Remote drivers, based in Mexico City, ensure that the scooters arrive to the customer and then are safely brought back to their designated docking areas.
GoX believes this launch is the first step in transforming the personal transport vehicle industry. While these scooters are not fully self-driving, the company thinks the true power behind the teleoperated fleet is the data and trends learned via the AI platform during this six-month local test period.
GoX also expects its pivot to teleoperated scooters, along with health safety precautions it plans to take, will make the company a major player in alternative transportation and micro-mobility as cities begin to open up after coronavirus-related closures.
E-scooters, like Bird and Lime, have largely vacated cities during the coronavirus pandemic. But by eliminating the clutter of e-scooters, ensuring proper storage when not in use, and integrating sanitization measures into each route, GoX believes they may be able to win over customers and city officials alike as people begin once again to search for safe, alternative transportation options within densely-populated areas.
According to the company’s press release, all employees will undergo a daily COVID-19 test before being sent out to sanitize scooters after each ride. Each scooter will also receive a new sticker after cleaning, before it arrives at the next customer’s location.
It’s just the latest cutting-edge technology to be tested and deployed at this city-owned and -operated living lab. The partnership with Sprint for 5G-enabled infrastructure, and a four-lane, 1.5-mile autonomous vehicle testing track a 1.5 mile, have helped attract companies focused on advanced mobility from around the country to Gwinnett County.
According to Plattenburg, innovations like GoX are possible in Peachtree Corners because it’s “a city that looks at things very differently.” Founded in 2012, Peachtree Corners prides itself on having a pro-business environment, which seems to have allowed partnerships like Curiosity Labs to grow. And Curiosity Lab’s testing facilities can be accessed at no cost to companies from startups to Fortune 500 firms who are interested in testing ideas for the future of transportation.
“It’s another opportunity for the city to look beyond traditional transportation and seek innovative ways to improve mobility,” said Peachtree Corners Mayor Mike Mason in a press release.