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Remote-controlled scooters in Boise won’t happen, after all

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A plan to pilot riderless e-scooters on the streets of downtown Boise ran out of battery. 

In late March, e-scooter company Spin told the City of Boise their plans to test new technology for three-wheeled scooters able to park themselves and drive alone to a waiting customer using remote control technology. Boise would have been the first city to test the 300 specially developed scooters with a new braking system, sensors and cameras providing 210-degree views to help the pilot park the scooter safely. 

The concept is now dead in the water after Berlin-based Tier Mobility acquired Spin from automaker Ford in early March. With the purchase, Tier Mobility acquired all 50,000 of Spin’s e-scooters and e-bikes, bringing the company’s fleet up to 300,000 strong worldwide, techcrunch.com reported. 

Boise still open to idea with other companies

City spokesperson Maria Weeg told BoiseDev the company canceled the pilot because Tier Mobility’s priorities and “hardware/software goals didn’t align” with the plans to test the remote-controlled scooter technology. But, she said Mayor Lauren McLean’s Transportation Advisor Bre Brush is still interested in the idea when she returns from maternity leave. 

“While we don’t have another company lined up to pilot the technology, I suspect it’s still top of mind for Bre when she returns as we are regularly looking for alternative transportation options,” Weeg wrote in an email. 

The program was originally announced in 2021 but put on hold due to the pandemic. Boise City Council voted on rules to allow the pilot to go forward in progressive stages at the beginning of March. The program was aimed at alleviating the problem of scooters parked carelessly on sidewalks, obstructing pedestrians and impacting accessibility for wheelchair users and others with mobility limitations. 

Margaret Carmel - BoiseDev Sr. Reporter
Margaret Carmel - BoiseDev Sr. Reporter
Margaret Carmel is a BoiseDev reporter focused on the City of Boise, housing, homelessness and growth. Contact her at [email protected] or by phone at (757)705-8066.

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