We are all familiar with the hottest trend in the mobility industry for the last two years – micromobility. Micromobility encompasses electric scooters and bikes, which are particularly energy-efficient. For example, kick scooters use only 18 watts per mile (compared with 250 watts per mile for electric cars). Minimobility encompasses 1 or 2 person vehicles, enclosed from the weather, similar to an “ordinary” car. Brad Templeton talks about the advantages of such vehicles in his new article. Certainly, the concept is not new, several automakers have proposed prototypes for such vehicles including Renault Twizy, Toyota iRoad, Nissan Land Glider. Most recently, Kenguru proposed such a vehicle for individuals in wheelchairs.
According to Templeton, what distinguishes minimobility from micromobility is its advantage on longer local travel, exceeding the so-called “last mile”. While such vehicles are not very popular in Western countries, they seem more utilized in China and South East Asia. However, a lot of observers remain skeptical of minimobility, as the range it offers is not much bigger than seated scooters, the capacity it offers is also the same, the only difference at this moment seems to be its enclosure. Other mobility trends, like carsharing, MaaS and micrmobility seem to address most of the problems that minimobility wishes to solve. On the other hand, minimobility seems particularly well-equipped to hand specialized vehicles, like that of Kenguru.
Yandex to expand self-driving car fleet
Russian search engine company Yandex announced that it will be expanding its self-driving car fleet to 1000 to accelerate testing of the technology. The company hopes to have more than 100 autonomous vehicles on public roads by the end of this year. 90 vehicles are already operating, 35 of which are being tested in Moscow. According to the company’s spokesperson, each car costs the company around $98,000.
Not much is known about the company’s technology, several videos emerged last year of Yandex’s self-driving car cruising through snowy streets in Moscow. In January HSBC published a report claiming that the company’s technology was on part with Google’s Waymo.
Yandex started working on self-driving technology in 2016 and tested its first vehicles in 2017.