A US city has launched what it says is the world's first self-driving e-scooter hailing app available to the public.
The colourfully-named Peachtree Corners in Georgia is trialling a hire scheme which will see residents hail the scooter from their phone - the scooter will then drive to where they are, and return itself to a safe parking space when the trip is finished.
The city's autonomous mobility research hub, Curiosity Lab at Peachtree Corners, has worked with scooter provider Go X and tech firm Tortoise on the project.
The organisers believe that the offer could tap into worries about the use of public transport as Covid-19 lockdowns are eased.
Go X, whose Apollo self-driving scooters are used, has reported 86% week-on-week growth for the last six weeks.
The e-scooters are repositioned by Tortoise’s remote teleoperators - which should reduce the sidewalk clutter which has irritated residents in other places visited by dockless micromobility schemes.
Go X says each scooter is "thoroughly disinfected" and gets a sticker to show it is cleaned and safe from Covid-19 infection.
CEO Alexander Debelov says it provides "the most virus-free ride out there".
"Curiosity Lab empowers innovators like Tortoise and Go X to collaborate and discover other partners to test, prove and deploy novel technologies in a real-world environment,” explains Brian Johnson, city manager of Peachtree Corners.