Elon Musk is boring tunnels; Uber is working on flying cars; Google, Tesla, Ford and Apple along with numerous others are chasing self-driving cars which seem an imminent reality of the not too distant future; Dominos with Amazon have successfully demonstrated drone deliveries in New Zealand and England, respectively, which they plan to include in their mainstream delivery systems in the future.
All of the aforementioned technologies are aimed at tackling human and goods mobility by working around existing problems and hurdles encountered at ground level rather than working into them, with the exception of self-driving cars, which, of course, is aimed at handling real-world road and traffic situations.
Tunnels will take us to subterranean levels; flying cars and delivery drones will take us and our deliveries, respectively, up in the opposite direction; and the self-driving car, while remaining at ground level, is aimed at addressing traffic safety and will be fully autonomous.
However, no thought was ever given to issues faced by the pedestrian on a daily basis – well, not until an Italian company, Piaggio Fast Forward came up with Gita, a robot which is designed to follow you around carrying your stuff like a “sherpa”, a “pack mule”, or a “shopping cart.”
Gita, by no means, is a vehicle that you can drive; it simply follows you around, or rather follows the wearable control that you put on when you are on foot, and even when you are riding your bike as it can reach speeds up to twenty-two miles an hour.
Gita is a horizontally tubular, robotic contraption that has the capability to roll along behind you for miles together carrying your stuff while you are walking or cycling. Its state-of-the-art navigation technology enables hassle-free movement, be it sidewalks, narrow streets, or lanes and by-lanes, bringing back the “joy of walking and riding to urban cityscapes,” as PFF likes to put.
According to Piaggio Fast Forward (PFF), you can undertake a host of activities with relative ease and comfort using the services of Gita, which, in Italian, means “short journey.” Here are some applications and features of this rolling robot called Gita:
* Gita is a 26-inch tall vehicle with a cargo carrying capacity of 40 pounds and can follow you for miles at a time.
* Its horizontal cylindrical or tubular design and two tires give it optimal maneuverability, meaning, it has a zero turn radius and can follow you around, carrying your stuff, just about anywhere you go, effectively, moving, turning and stopping with you.
* Gita is capable of operating with equal efficiency on irregular and bumpy terrain as well.
* It can slow down to a crawl or speed up to 22 miles per hour to keep up with you. So, strolling, walking, running or pedaling, Gita is on your tail all the time.
* Gita will never lose you as its technology enables it to find you even when you are behind an obstruction like a tree or a wall, or around a corner.
* Gita with the help of a 360° camera can map the surrounding urban topography thereby enabling it to avoid obstacles along its way.
* The cargo hold of Gita can be fingerprint-locked making it safe for you to park it outside while you enter a building. Should you decide to take it in with you, all it needs is an ADA-compliant ramp to meet that particular requirement.
* Gita’s batteries are designed for eight hours at walking speeds.
* Gita can be put to use for various purposes such as carrying your bags while you move around shopping and shuttling stuff and supplies across huge workplaces like sprawling offices, factories, and theme parks.
* Delivery companies and mail carriers can employ a fleet of Gitas to follow their delivery staff on their way to different customers, carrying goods and mail to be delivered, making it possible, and economically so, to cover a large area in a short span of time.
* PFF is even contemplating renting out Gitas to customers who may need it temporarily for a specific job. However, so far it’s just a floating idea which may or may not see fruition.
* Notably, it can also work autonomously on routes previously covered by it.
* “It’s an everyday assistant designed to help people walk, run, pedal and skate their way more freely and productively through life,” says PFF.
For those seeking a higher weight allowance than the 40 pounds that Gita has to offer, Kilo, a conically extended three-wheeled version of Gita, is the answer.
According to PFF, “Kilo is Gita’s older brother, capable of carrying up to 250 pounds and larger pieces of cargo.”
About Piaggio Fast Forward
Piaggio Fast Forward is a relatively new company established in 2015 with the sole purpose of exploring innovative possibilities and to introduce something unique in itself for the future, in order to keep its somewhat struggling, 133- year-old parent company, the Piaggio Group, afloat. The Group, it must be mentioned, is one of the world’s largest mobility companies and the European leader in two-wheeled vehicles, and are also the makers of the iconic Vespa.
“Piaggio Group and its purpose is to come up with a new way of conducting research, with the aim of interpreting the signs of change and coming up with intelligent solutions to the problems and the new demands of the future,” says the Piaggio Group in regards to the decision to establish and own a company like Piaggio Fast Forward.
Away from Central Italy, closer to where the technical action is, PFF was set up in an old Hood Dairy factory in Boston, Massachusetts in 2015. After more than a year of brainstorming and hard research, the company launched prototypes of Gita and Kilo in Boston early in February this year. As of now, Gita and Kilo are not available for purchase. However, a mass rollout is expected in 2018 for companies following which it will be made available to the individual consumer.
Gita and Kilo are the first two vehicles researched and developed by Piaggio Fast Forward but it doesn’t end here. The company has plans of continuing to explore other avenues in mobility and coming up with more and more human-centric mobility products.
“The Group thus explores the evolution of mobility and does so thinking about the future, expanding its vision to include a much broader range of technological solutions compared to its current core business,” according to the launch report of Gita and Kilo.