Ex-Uber exec launches startup to autonomously reposition electric scooters and bikes

Just how Android is the operating system for a number of mobile phones, Tortoise wants to be the operating system for micromobility vehicles, its co-founder Dmitry Shevelenko, who previously served as Uber’s director of business development, told TechCrunch. Given the volume of micromobility operators in the space today, Tortoise aims to make it easier for these companies to more strategically deploy their respective vehicles and reposition them when needed.

Using autonomous technology in tandem with remote human intervention, Tortoise’s software enables operators to remotely relocate their scooters and bikes to places where riders need them, or, where operators need them to be recharged. On an empty sidewalk, Tortoise may employ autonomous technologies while it may rely on humans to remotely control the vehicle on a highly trafficked city block.

“There are big daily operating expenses with the repositioning of scooters using cars and vans,” Shevelenko said. “Not only is that very expensive, but it ends up undoing a lot of the environmental benefit of shared electric scooters.”

In order for this to work, Tortoise partners with both cities and operators — though the city partnership needs to happen first, Shevelenko said. That’s because Tortoise will only reposition the vehicles along

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