Mobility start-up Tortoise begins autonomous scooter project

Posted: 17 October 2019 |

Tortoise has “combined autonomous technology with remote human intervention” as a potential solution to the issue of scooter abandonment.


In a bid to tackle the growing problem of hired scooter abandonment, and the fact that the vehicles are not always readily available at their docking locations, mobility start-up Tortoise has “combined autonomous technology with remote human intervention” as a potential solution.

Tortoise wants to make the existing operators across the globe more efficient and effective by developing an easy, cost-effective way to relocate small electric vehicles to the places where they are needed most.

Through partnerships with cities, Tortoise aims to determine where a scooter can safely move autonomously at a low speed and where a human should remotely move the unit via a camera attached to the unit (like on a highly congested city road). The goal is to safely move vehicles from a location where it may be underutilised or obstructing the road, to a city-approved parking spot, a public transit hub, or even to the doorstep of users.

A partnership with The City of Peachtree Corners, Georgia, has been formed to demonstrate how the technology can make scooters a viable transportation option at Atlanta Tech Park, which struggles with heavy congestion during lunch hours. 

“We are excited to explore how Tortoise can make shared electric scooters and bikes a viable transportation option for the residents of Peachtree Corners. Tortoise addresses many of the major challenges and concerns expressed by people in the past and will transform shared micromobility into a valuable asset for our city and our residents,” said Brian Johnson, City Manager, City of Peachtree Corners.

In addition to working with cities, Tortoise is reportedly working closely with the private sector. Tortoise has said it has formed partnerships with operators and manufacturers (OEMs) across the globe. Wind, Gotcha, CityBee, Go X, and Shared will be the first operators to deploy Tortoise in their respective markets. Manufacturers like ACTON, Tronx Motors, Veemo and YIMI wil incorporate the technology with the bikes and scooters that they develop for the operators.  

“Tortoise will allow us to keep sidewalks clean and safe for pedestrians, while delivering on our mission to always have a scooter within a two minute walk of a user ready to take a ride. This technology will enable us to provide the best mobility service for our users and the city authorities,” said Ed Schmidt, COO and EMEA CEO, Wind.

An advisory board has been created that consists of prior public officials and city planning experts that aims to ensure the project progresses appropriately. Tortoise has said it will continue to form new partnerships and expand its offering for riders and cities everywhere.