How might we use autonomous & electric micromobility to provide safe, low cost and grid-optimized mobility access in cities?
Today micromobility faces several issues. First, rebalancing (logistics to redistribute where needed) is a pricey pain for scooter- and bike-share companies. Second, charging creates issues (see Scooter Power challenge). For micromobililty companies, charging creates substantial operational costs. For instance, Bird spent almost half its gross revenue per ride paying individual contract workers to charge their scooters. From an energy perspective on a larger scale, the issue of plugging in thousands of scooters simultaneously in a city could be a problem. Third, parking and storage create friction with cities and communities, as scooters and bikes often clutter sidewalks or are vandalized if not parked in a secure way.
What if we could combine electric micromobility and autonomous driving? As WIRED suggests, “Self-driving e-scooters and bikes would be able to mosey themselves over to battery-charging stations, or wheel themselves into maintenance depots, or redistribute themselves to exactly where users need them to be.” Autonomous micromobility would not only lower the operating costs for companies, but could provide easy and affordable access to mobility for disadvantaged communities. By connecting “transit deserts” to public transportation we can make low-carbon, affordable mobility happen.
However, cracking the self-driving problem looks like a daunting task. Two-wheeled vehicles fall over without humans balancing the scooter or bike. E-bikes often only augment human power and are not self-powered. The sensors needed to navigate the sidewalks and streets are costly and reduce the price advantage of small devices compared to traditional vehicles. In addition, the energy infrastructure may need to be reimagined to make an autonomous micromobility system work.
At EDF Innovation Lab, we aim to electrify the future. How might we facilitate electric, autonomous micromobility to provide safe, low cost and grid-optimized mobility access in cities? What are the opportunities and challenges of autonomous micromobility for an energy company? Which new business models can we support with innovative energy solutions? How would a decentralized, data-driven and low-carbon energy autonomous micromobility system look? Which self-driving micromobility transportation modes can you envision? Which role can we play as an energy utility company in the ecosystem of micromobility companies, cities, and transit companies?
Join us to explore disruptive technologies to shape the future of autonomous electric micromobility. Create ideas for new products, services, and innovative business models for electric autonomous micromobility. Great solutions to our challenge consider the social, economic, technical, regulatory, and energy implications and ramifications.
We invite the most motivated and talented participants for a behind the scenes tour of our EDF Innovation Lab. In a workshop want to explore how to implement and test your ideas.
San Francisco 2019