Ride-hailing app Uber are hiring engineers to develop self-driving bicycles and scooters, according to a report in the Telegraph. The idea is to have scooters and bicycles which will be able to navigate themselves around cities in order to reach customers and charging points. Uber, who acquired electric bicycle company Jump, allows customers to collect the bikes and leave them on the pavement once at their desired location. At this point, the bikes are then collected by a paid contractor who then repair any damages to the vehicle and charge them overnight. The new technology that Uber hope to develop with engineers will cut out the middle man, therefore increasing profits.
Uber has begun hiring a “micromobility robotics” team to work. On the project, they announced on Saturday. On its online hiring page, Uber said: “we plan to improve safety, rider experience and operational efficiency of our shared electric scooters and bicycles through the application of sensing and robotics technologies.” Currently electric scooters are prohibited from public highways in the UK, but Uber competitor Bird, are operating a trial service on privately owned land at the Olympic Park in East London. Uber have faced major criticism over their self-driving ambitions after the death of a woman in Phoenix Arizona who was crushed by one of their autonomous vehicles while crossing the road at night. The controversial company has just recently restarted testing their vehicles on public roads.