Mobility

Ford subsidiary Spin bringing e-scooters that can park themselves out of the way to U.S.

Spin is a mobility-focused subsidiary of Ford.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Spin, a subsidiary of Ford Motor Company, has announced that it will bring remotely-operated e-scooters to cities in North American and Europe in 2021. These new e-scooters have one major benefit over the older variety: they can re-park themselves out of the pathway of pedestrians.

The new Spin S-200 that will be deployed is made possible because of a partnership with software company Tortoise. The new Tortoise Spin Valet platform make sit possible to remotely operate the e-scooters by combining front and rear-facing built-in cameras. According to a release, this technology will eventually make it possible for a rider to "hail" an e-scooter several blocks to a desired pick up location rather than going to find one.

Spin e-scooters will be deployed in Boise, Idaho this spring.Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

The first S-200 will deploy in Boise, Idaho this spring. The city will receive 300 of the models, which were co-developed with Segway-Ninebot and feature a three-wheeled setup. Spin says that the three-wheel setup can better withstand different road conditions due to its enhanced suspension. There are three independent braking systems on the e-scooter (regenerative rear brake, front and rear drum brakes) and turn signals (on handlebars and near the rear wheel).

"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," said Ben Bear, Chief Business Officer at Spin. "In addition to providing reliability to consumers and more order to city streets, this could significantly improve unit economics, help reduce carbon emissions and the operational work required to maintain and reposition fleets."

Back to that repositioning tech. Spin describes the process in which the maneuver occurs:

"After a ride is terminated by the individual riding the e-scooter, the remote operations team may reposition the scooter (at a low-speed - max 3 mph) if the vehicle is blocking the sidewalk, crosswalk, or a handicapped space. The same repositioning can take place if the vehicle is parked at a destination where it's unlikely to get another trip. Later this year, Spin will offer in-app "scooter hailing" that allows customers to request an e-scooter in advance or in real-time. Operations staff will remotely direct any S-200 to the desired location. Eventually, battery depleted scooters will also automatically go to the nearest Spin Hub for charging."

Over the next year, Spin will explore opportunities to bring S-200 to North American and European cities that are interested in remote-controlled operations and a more robust e-scooter model.

"We are thrilled to see our software come to life with Spin," said Dmitry Shevelenko, Co-Founder and President at Tortoise. "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."

Co-developed by Spin and Segway-Ninebot, the S-200 is equipped with the latest computer vision, machine learning, and robotics technologies, featuring an advanced visual navigation system.

"Although this is a small step for Segway's robotic technology to power Spin's new generation of shared scooters, the S-200 for the first time," said Tony Ho, Segway's Vice President of Global Business Development, "we believe this is a significant development that marks the beginning of robotic technology that may unlock the full potential of micromobility, in practical and operational use. We look forward to seeing the real impact of the technology that this pilot program will bring."

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The Bronco will get two new colors for 2022.

Ford

The new Ford Bronco was in such high demand that buyers were in for a long wait, even before the pandemic and microchip shortages wreaked havoc on automotive supply chains and production. Even now, with little hope of a speedy vehicle delivery, buyers are still lining up to get the new SUV, and to reward those whose dreams will have to wait until 2022, Ford is debuting two new colors: Eruption Green and Hot Pepper Metallic.


2022 Ford Bronco Eruption Green and Hot Pepper Metallic will be available. Ford


Ford revealed the colors at this year's Woodward Dream Cruise. The first-generation Bronco, which ran from 1966 through 1977, was the featured vehicle at the cruise, which presented the opportunity to introduce new colors for the upcoming model year. The two new colors won't join the Bronco's existing color catalog until order banks open for the new model year later in 2021. Ford says that the current color catalog which includes Antimatter Blue, Lightning Blue Metallic, and Rapid Red Metallic will be available through the end of the 2021 model year.


2022 Ford Bronco Many Bronco buyers will have to wait until 2022 to get their new SUV.Ford


The new colors may end up being the shades of choice for many current hopeful Bronco buyers. Along with pandemic-related delays, Ford's rollout of the new Bronco has been plagued by hardtop-related cosmetic issues. The problem is big enough for the automaker to replace the top of every hardtop Bronco built so far. This includes vehicles already purchased, the rare few sitting on dealers' lots, and even recently produced vehicles still hanging around the factory. Buyers still waiting for their Broncos to be built will be waiting a while, to the point that Ford says many orders will be pushed into the new model year. Ford is offering Bronco-related merchandise and promises a price lock for all buyers whose orders have been pushed, and now it appears they'll have two new colors to choose from as well.

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Three two-women teams will compete in a new Bronco or Bronco Sport.

Ford

As the pandemic ramped up last summer, auto event organizers were canceling left and right to avoid gathering groups of people to spread the virus. A few events went on, especially outdoor racing events such as the Rebelle Rally. The all-woman off-road event covers desert terrain in Nevada and California, and this year Ford Motor Company is sending three teams to compete in different versions of the Bronco and Bronco Sport SUVs.

All three teams will compete in some sort of Bronco SUV. Shelby Hall and Penny Dale, who drive a Bronco Sport in last year's Rebelle Rally, return to the competition in 2021, this time with a Bronco two-door. Pro off-roaders Melissa Fischer and Cora Jokinen will pilot a Bronco Sport in the X-cross class and novice racers Kathryn Reinhardt and Victoria Bundrant from accessory supplier 4Wheel Parts will drive a four-door Bronco in the 4x4 class.


2021 Rebelle Rally Two Broncos and a Bronco Sport will compete. Ford


The Bronco Sport and Bronco four-door are both Badlands models. The two-door Bronco is a Wildtrak model. All of the SUVs have been decked out in special Bronco 4600-inspired race livery. The two-door Bronco will enter the competition equipped with the Sasquatch package, but will otherwise retain is factory stock configuration. The Bronco Sport will also remain stock, other than having its back seat removed. Ford says the 4Wheel Parts team will accessorize the four-door Bronco.

The Rebelle Rally is the first women's off-road navigation rally in the United States. Teams are not allowed to use electronic maps, such as in-dash navigation or mapping tools built into smartphones. Ford says its teams will disable the features in the Broncos they'll be driving in the event.


2021 Rebelle Rally The Bronco Sport will remain stock, but will have its back seats removed.Ford

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