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Ford’s Spin, Tortoise partner to launch e-scooters with remote operation capabilities

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Ford Motor Co.’s multimobility subsidiary, Spin, and software company Tortoise announced a partnership Wednesday to launch e-scooters with remote operation, improved safety and repositioning technologies.

The e-scooter is called the Spin S-200. After a rider takes a trip, a remote operations team can reposition the scooter to move it out of the way of pedestrians and traffic. The team can also move a scooter that’s been left in a place where it’s unlikely to be used for another trip.

A video of the technology can be viewed here.

A pilot in Boise, Idaho, is set to begin in the spring. As many as 300 S-200s will be delivered to the city. The partners plan to bring the scooters to more North American and European cities throughout 2021.

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“There has been a lot of fanfare around the potential of remote-controlled e-scooters, but this partnership marks a turning point in tangible operational plans to bring them to city streets,” Ben Bear, chief business officer at Spin, said in the press release.

Two-wheel dockless scooters have become a familiar sight in cities worldwide. Ford said the three-wheeled e-scooters offer a safer and more stable ride with three independent braking systems and turn signals.

The remote capabilities are expected to expand later this year with Spin Valet technology. Through front- and rear-facing built-in cameras, the e-scooter app will offer “scooter hailing.” Operations staff will remotely direct any S-200 to the desired pickup location or to a Spin Hub charging location.

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Tortoise tested remote-operation technologies last summer in a partnership with Go X, an electric-scooter company.

“We are thrilled to see our software come to life with Spin,” Tortoise President Dmitry Shevelenko said in the press release. “Spin has worked tirelessly to build trust with cities around the world, and our hope is that this technology only further improves and optimizes the way cities and operators can provide transportation together.”

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