Everyone loves a good scooter, but one that is connected to the Internet of Things (IoT) has hit the market and could possibly change the way we take trips, and travel in general.
The island of Teshima in Japan’s Inland Sea is becoming a hub for cutting-edge technology. Only accessible by ferry, the less than 6 square mile island is now the home of a new business model for energy distribution along with remote analytics and telemetry, according to Forbes.com. The small island is also home to EV-neo scooters that are electric, rechargeable and even connected to the IoT.
Telecommunications and tech company SoftBank worked with their subsidiary, PS Solutions, to create an eco-friendly electric motorcycle sharing service. This allows Honda EV-neo scooters to be rented for a half or full day, helping visitors and residents get around.
The service, called Setouchi Karen, will set you back about 3,700 yen or about 32 American dollars to rent a scooter for an entire day. After about 30 kilometers, they require about 20-minutes of recharging. Luckily, getting stranded is much less likely given the alerts scooters are able to receive when the device is running low on power.
The scooters are all connected to a central system that collects and displays driving data in real time via an Oracle IoT platform.
“This year, Teshima became not only an exciting destination for contemporary art, but also the test case for technological innovation that could transform the way people consume energy and travel,” Norio Yamaguchi, director of the Cyber Physical System Business Promotion Office at PS Solutions, told Forbes.
The catch: If you’re just visiting, you need a Japanese driver’s license or international driving permit to travel safely on the scooter.
So, where will these pop up next?
“We are looking at India, the Philippines, and Cambodia,” Yamaguchi told Forbes. “There are some sightseeing areas in those countries that see millions of tourists a year, so it’s highly likely our next challenge is going to be such an area. We want to introduce a high-quality, low-price service there that is also IoT-enabled.”