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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Bugatti is selling just 40 Divos worldwide.

Photo courtesy of Bugatti

Only 40 Bugatti Divos will be made. Four of them were recently delivered to U.S. customers. The latest customized version of the supercar to be delivered by the French automaker pushed the limits of what the Bugatti craftspeople are capable of. As company founder Ettore Bugatti once said: "If it is comparable, it is no longer Bugatti."

Meet the Bugatti Divo named "Lady Bug".

The Divo premiered in 2018 and shortly thereafter a prospective buyer and noted collector from the U.S. approached Bugatti with an idea in mind. They wanted a strict geometric pattern that featured diamond shapes in a unique color contrast on their Divo. The Bugatti design and development team set about figuring out how to make that happen.

Bugatti Divo "Lady Bug" design process

Photo courtesy of Bugatti

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Two special metallic paint colors were developed: Customer Special Red and Graphite. The diamond pattern was designed to run precisely from the front over the sides to the rear – matching the silhouette of the Divo.

Bugatti's team spend a year-and-a-half to develop and implement the technical and graphic solutions the Divo owner required. Adding the diamonds to the car was far more complex than they expected. They would have to be painted onto the body with precision and exact definition.

What made it so hard? According to Bugatti, "the digital patterns in the CAD program bear little resemblance to reality: owing to the three-dimensional, sculptural form of the Divo with its contours, curves and ribs, the 2D-printed diamonds became distorted on the surface of the exclusive hyper sports car. As a result, they had to be digitally modified."

Being off by as little as one millimeter would ruin the entire visual effect. The total would be 1,600 diamonds by the time the pattern was fully executed.

Weeks later, designers discovered a way to match the CAD data with reality. They ended up being able to pull the film over the deeply concave surfaces of the Divo without the diamonds becoming distorted or developing folds.

Bugatti Divo "Lady Bug" graphics application

Photo courtesy of Bugatti

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During the pattern's development, a test car was used to perfect the pattern. After the initial steps of the application process were applied to the customer's Divo, Bugatti's team need to remove each diamond. Graphite paint and a clearcoat were applied on top of the effect paint in Customer Special Red in order to invert the pattern. As part of this process, the paintwork was sanded, smoothed, checked, retouched and then re-sanded. All in, the total time spent on the paint on the customer's car alone was two weeks.

"Every Bugatti Divo is one of a kind. With the custom-made 'Lady Bug', Bugatti has demonstrated the full range of its customization expertise. What initially seemed impossible was executed to perfection by the designers and developers in collaboration with the customer," says Stephan Winkelmann, President of Bugatti."We are proud to have matched the customer's personal taste and expectations with this unique Divo. The car really demonstrates what the marque is capable of in terms of creativity and craftsmanship."

Bugatti Divo "Lady Bug"

Photo courtesy of Bugatti

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There were no changes to the car's W16 powertrain for the project.

Each Divo is priced at $5.6 million USD but buyers pay more depending on which options they choose. All Divos are produced by the Bugatti Alelier in Molsheim. The first deliveries of the supercar happened in August 2020. All models will hav been delivered by this spring.

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The Alfa Romeo Giulia is one of the models that can be found on the new CPO website.

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

Customers looking for certified pre-owned Alfa Romeos no longer need to pay a visit to their dealership, browse the lot, and keep their fingers crossed. The Italian automaker has launched a new version of its certified pre-owned vehicles website.

The new site allows buyers to locate, research, and purchase late-model certified pre-owned Alfas from wherever their smart device will connect to the internet.

Every Alfa Romeo certified pre-owned vehicle passes a certification process followed by a thorough reconditioning process using authentic Mopar parts. The certification process includes a 169-point inspection including a diagnostic review, service and maintenance background verification, and examination of the interior, exterior, undercarriage, unibody and multimedia.

The Alfa Romeo website now has a certified pre-owned vehicles section.Photo courtesy of Stellantis

Certified Alfas are sold with a factory-backed five-year/100,000-mile Maximum Care Warranty that includes a $0 customer deductible that starts the date of the vehicle sale. Buyers can choose to upgrade that to an eight-year/100,000-mile warranty. Maximum Care Warranties cover over 5,000 mechanical parts.

A CARFAX Vehicle History Report is also included, as is a three-month trial subscription to SiriusXM.Twenty-four hour roadside assistance that includes flat tire service, gas delivery, battery-jump assistance, lockout service, towing service and rental car allowance is also part of the package.

As with a new vehicle, multiple financing options are available.

Don't want to shop in person? Alfa Romeo's E-Shop option allows buyers to locate, research and purchase vehicles from home, as well as take advantage of home delivery.

The updated alfaromeousacertified.com website can now also be accessed via the alfaromeousa.com homepage.

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