The scooters have been referred to by the city as “self-driving” but a key difference is that instead of using artificial intelligence like autonomous cars, a person is directing the scooter’s movement remotely.
The fleet of 100 scooters will be sanitized after each use and have a sticker put on them verifying that they’ve been cleaned, said Judy Putnam, spokeswoman for Peachtree Corners.
The scooters can only be ridden at Technology Park Atlanta, within the boundaries of Ga. 141, Peachtree Industrial Boulevard and Spalding Drive. Scooters outside that area will slow to 2 miles per hour, slower than a moderately-paced walk. The city hopes to expand the boundaries to include Peachtree Corners Town Center in the future, Putnam said.
Those who wish to ride the scooters can do so between 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday. Riders must download the Go X Apollo app and pay $1 to unlock a scooter to ride. After that, it’s 25 cents per minute or $29.99 for a whole day, Putnam said.
The new technology aims to keep scooters out of the paths of cars, pedestrians and cyclists by making it possible for remote operators to return rented machines to their parking area after use. While scooters from companies like Bird and Uber have all but disappeared due to the coronavirus pandemic, the technology could be used once they return to keep them from being a nuisance and hazard between rides, a Go X press release said.
The pilot program will allow Go X and Tortoise to gather data about the scooters’ operation and make any tweaks needed before scaling up further.
The scooters will be available to ride for at least six months at Curiosity Lab, which is within Technology Park Atlanta and near Peachtree Corners City Hall. This is the second public launch at the facility. The first was Olli, a self-driving shuttle created by Arizona-based Local Motors; that was debuted at Curiosity Lab’s 2019 grand opening.