Though robots are increasingly making their way into factories, offices and even airports, they’re still not something you’d encounter walking down a city street — and definitely not in a way that’s personally useful to you. Piaggio Fast Forward promises to bring us a bit closer to that science-fiction reality with its smart cargo vehicle, the Gita. It’s relatively small, attractive and can follow you everywhere, ready to lend a hand when you’ve taken on too much to carry.
GITA, the rolling robot
A few years ago, Harvard professor Jeffrey Schnapp met with the leadership team at the Piaggio Group, the maker of the Vespa. From that meeting a new R&D and manufacturing company was born on the back streets of Boston.The company, dubbed Piaggio Fast Forward (PFF), created its first product as a rolling robot that can carry up to 40 pounds of cargo for miles. Gita is a smart, nimble, cargo vehicle designed and engineered with the same attention to safety, braking, balancing, vehicle dynamics and performance that you would expect of a motorcycle or car. It is designed to match the full range of human mobility, with speeds that extend from a crawl to a sprint and a zero turning radius. Gita operates inside and out, on sidewalks and streets, just like a person. The spherical shape and clean design characterise its personality.
The revolutionary nature of Gita is in its ability to provide support to people in the various activities that characterise their movements in everyday life, extending the limited operating range and carrying capacity of humanity. It is, in fact, conceived as a true platform for mobility, which can be customised and integrated to meet different needs in multiple scenarios. We could say that, rather than get you from A to B as fast as possible, Gita is meant to get you there more easily. More than that, Gita is a way to begin to explore what the world looks like when humans and robots share the sidewalk. And, hopefully, to make that idea seem a little less scary.
The concept that PFF came up with is called “granular mobility,” which is the ability to navigate the sidewalks and the spaces where people move. “A Vespa for the 21st century,” the founders say.
Source: Piaggio Group