Segway is looking to ride the scooter-sharing boom for all it’s worth. The company, best known for its eponymous two-wheeled vehicle now has a fairly large business manufacturing scooters for sharing services. Now Segway is looking to expand the use of its scooters in those services.
The company is partnering with Vulog, a tech company that provides the software backends for various sharing services, to help develop scooter-sharing services. Segway will provide the scooters and Vulog will provide its AiMA software platform to manage the services. The first service benefitting from this partnership will launch in Europe later this year.
In a press release, Vulog said this was its first collaboration with a “mobility manufacturer” like Segway. Vulog typically partners with third parties, operating sharing services on their behalf. It’s already working with Groupe PSA on the Free2Move car-sharing service in Washington D.C., and the all-electric Emov service in Spain and Portugal.
The new European scooter-sharing service will also include cars, according to Vulog, but no other details were offered. Vulog said it hopes to work with automakers in the future “so that they can offer ‘sharing ready’ cars to operators.”
Scooter-sharing services like Bird and Lime have proven immensely popular, but have also attracted criticism for the haphazard way scooters are deployed in cities. Most operate using the “dockless” model also favored by some bike-sharing services. That means scooters can be left anywhere, making it convenient for users but not for ordinary pedestrians.
Vulog already operates what is basically the automotive analog to this. It specializes in “free floating” car sharing, where vehicles can be picked up and dropped off anywhere within a given area. The company claims to have policies that ensure cars don’t all get clustered in one place, such as temporarily lowering rates in certain areas. Could Vulog’s experience with cars help it manage the scooter chaos?
Updated: This article originally stated that the European scooter-sharing service will be operated by Vulog and Segway. It will be operated by a third party, with Segway providing scooters and Vulog providing its software platform.
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