I read last week that the US Postal Services had selected a bid to replace their old trucks with new ones that are gasoline-powered. I believe that this is a big mistake. President Biden has stated that he wants to electrify the government fleet, and this is the time to do it with the USPS trucks.
EVs make perfect sense for a stop-and-start daily route vehicle. There’s no reason to replace them with updated versions of 20th-century trucks. While an individual may worry about taking their car, which is usually used locally, on an occasional long trip, this would never be a concern with a vehicle that drives a local route every day. And who wants trucks spewing pollution in our neighborhoods when it’s not necessary?
The current fleet has been around for three decades, so whatever we do now will be with us for a long time, so we need to choose wisely and make the investments we need for the future. If we buy gas trucks now, they would continue as gasoline vehicles for a long time, even when most of the auto and truck fleet has transitioned to EVs.
The announcement about the Next Generation Delivery Vehicle (NGDV) from defense contractor Oshkosh Defense, states that these vehicles could be converted to EVs later. However, that is not practical and would likely never happen. Vehicles that are designed as EVs use a different kind of platform, since they don’t need gas tanks, large engines, radiators, and even transmissions. It makes more sense from a technical and a financial standpoint to build them as EVs in the first place.
Now is also the time to create the infrastructure to support these electric postal vehicles. It can be done as the trucks are phased in, with charging stations in the lot and solar panels on the post office roof to feed them.
What You Can Do
When I heard this news, I immediately wrote to my two senators and my congressman. You can go to their websites and fill out an email template to communicate that you want electric postal trucks. It takes five minutes.
I also looked up the Department of Transportation, where Pete Buttigieg is now the secretary. I didn’t find an easy email address, but you can call them at 202-366-4000 or send them a letter at:
The most important thing is to invest in electric postal trucks at the beginning, and we’ll have vehicles that fit in with the electric fleet of the future, will be part of an overall climate strategy, and be much more economical to run for years to come.
The auto industry has been slowly transitioning toward battery-powered transportation, but each company has its own way of doing it. BMW, which jumped in early with the all-electric i3 and plug-in hybrid i8 in 2014, has been slow to move to pure electrics, but now offers plug-in hybrid options on several popular models, including the midsize 530e sedan and X5 xDrive45e crossover, which I recently tested.
Three Different Paths a Company Can Take to Move Towards Electric
Before diving into the two Bimmers, let’s look at the different ways that car companies can approach the gasoline to electricity transition, from all-in to not quite ready yet, or the middle path. I’m just hitting high spots here to make the point.
All-in is how Tesla, a California startup, has done it since day one. First, they electrified a small two-seat sports car on a borrowed Lotus platform. Then, they took what they learned and introduced their mass market flagship Model S sedan. The smaller, more affordable Model 3 sedan and Model Y hatchback followed, putting Teslas—every one all-electric—into the hands of a much wider clientele.
The middle path recognizes that electric cars are not profitable yet, but companies like General Motors, Ford, Nissan, and Volkswagen don’t want to be left out in the future. Things started rolling about a decade ago, when Nissan bravely introduced the all-electric LEAF and GM brought out the clever Volt plug-in hybrid. Ford and VW electrified existing compact hatchbacks, replacing engines with motors in the compact Focus and Golf, respectively. There are other examples, such as Mercedes-Benz’s B-class EV and more recent offerings from Audi.
Things have moved forward for the mainstream companies over the decade. GM debuted the all-new Bolt EV four years ago, and recently announced its all-electric future, with some desirable cars in the works, from GMC/Hummer and Cadillac as well as the Bolt EUV crossover. Ford is debuting its beautiful and powerful Mustang now and has put a hybrid in the F-150 pickup, with a full EV version on the way. VW is finally rolling out the excellent ID.4 crossover. The Nissan Ariya crossover is imminent. So, there’s progress.
Another way to take the middle path is to avoid EVs but proliferate hybrids. Toyota has taken this approach, spreading its pioneering Prius hybrid technology across its model mix, including the Avalon, Camry, and Corolla sedans and RAV4 and Highlander crossovers.
A few years ago, the Korean brands introduced the Hyundai Ioniq and Kona and Kia Niro models that let you choose hybrid, plug-in hybrid, or battery electric flavors. Both companies have recently committed to full lines of EVs over the next few years.
On the “just getting started” side you’ll find worthy manufacturers like Subaru and Mazda, who don’t have the cash to build an all-electric car. However, they can collaborate with big companies and join the party eventually, as Subaru has already done with Toyota on its Crosstrek Hybrid. Mazda has just introduced an electric version of its MX30 crossover, but it’s not available in the U.S yet. It will be Mazda’s first EV in America when it arrives.
BMW’s Plug-In Hybrids
Getting back to BMW, they have their plug-in hybrids and plans for new all-electric models, including the i4 sedan and iX crossover, and currently offer the iX3 small electric crossover in Europe. Today, you can contact your American BMW retailer and buy or lease a 530e or X5 xDrive45e plug-in hybrid. I drove both over the last few weeks.
Unlike Tesla, BMW has no identity to establish. Since the 1970’s they’ve built a reputation as “The Ultimate Driving Machine,” and while that may not really apply anymore, the brand still retains a lot of desirability and panache. So, while they slowly introduce new members of their electric “I” vehicles, they have taken popular models and cleaned them up a bit.
Both the X5 xDrive 45e and the 530e plug-in hybrids retain gasoline engines and the components that support them, like radiators, motor oil, and exhaust systems, while installing a motor, battery and an extra port to charge it. But unlike standard hybrids, which have small batteries that charge only when you step on the brake pedal, a plug-in hybrid lets you actively charge your car like an EV—for a limited range.
The 530e has an official EPA electric range of 21 miles; the larger battery on the X5 provides 30. What this means in real life is that if you’re willing to plug in your car regularly, for most driving you can go electrically, since statistically, most people don’t drive more than 40 miles a day.
The upsides include lower CO2 emissions, smooth, silent driving, and no range anxiety. Once you get past the local electric range, the car converts into hybrid mode and uses gasoline or electricity as efficiently as it can. That means on a freeway trip, if you’re not in stop-and-go traffic, you’ll be using mostly gasoline, while in town, with frequent braking, you may be mostly electric, even if the electrons you put into the battery overnight are used up.
The X5 xDrive45e Crossover
My Arctic Grey Metallic test unit came packed with extras, making it a seriously luxurious ride. Inside, it wore the ivory White Vernasca Leather—“non-animal-derived “SensaTec” is standard.
The 2021 X5 xDrive45e is a second-generation model, updated significantly from the previous X5 xDrive40e. A more powerful six-cylinder turbo engine replaces the 2.0-liter four from the old car, and the battery doubles in size to 24 kWh. That means you get up to 30 miles of electric-only range vs. just 12 before (I saw the gauge read “32”). That’s significant, because it means a lot more of your local driving will be electric-powered.
The combined horsepower, with the electric motor, is 389 horsepower, a bump of 81 from the old car. Torque jumps as well, to 443 lb.ft., a rise of 111. That lets the 5,672-pound hauler sprint from 0 to 60 in just 5.3 seconds.
It takes four hours to charge the battery from empty to 80 percent and 5.3 hours to fill it to 100 percent using a level 2, 240-volt charger. Using standard household current takes considerably longer (13.3 and 17.7 hours respectively). As a plug-in hybrid, it will never need an emergency charging stop while traveling.
The crossover comes standard with BMW’s Intelligent xDrive all-wheel drive system and an eight-speed Sport Steptronic transmission. It’s smart enough to adjust for your route and driving situation. The double wishbone front and five-link rear suspension are designed for comfort as well as traction when surfaces are less than ideal. The two-axle air suspension balances loads.
The interior looks rugged and luxurious like a BMW crossover should. It features Live Cockpit Professional, with 12.3-inch screens for the instrument panel and in the middle of the dash, where you can control all the sophisticated BMW driving and entertainment options.
My test week was during a quiet February, and with nowhere to go, I took no long rides. But, with its gorgeous chairs, crystal shift knob, and sparkling trim, the car felt quite posh when I did.
Three Drive Modes
There are three drive modes—Hybrid, Electric, and Sport. Hybrid, the default, electronically monitors the route and the road and selects the most efficient or performance-oriented balance of gas or electrons. Electric—my choice—is selectable from a center console button, and I had to do that every time because of the default Hybrid setting.
The car can go up to a law-breaking 84 mph on electricity alone, so short freeway hops work just fine. On longer trips you’ll end up in Hybrid mode. If, for some reason, you want to storm back roads for fun, the Sport setting keeps the engine on all the time for extra power.
Since this is nominally an offroad vehicle, you can set five levels of ride height. Although I had no need to use this, it could come in handy for clearance when you leave the highway.
Fuel economy per the EPA is 50 MPGe when you’re using electricity and it drops way down to 20 mpg with gasoline.
The X5 xDrive45e base prices at $65,400, but my tester, loaded up with numerous options, plus $995 shipping from the Spartanburg, South Carolina factory, came to $81,695. That’s a lot, but it’s a lot of car, too.
The luxury crossover segment is becoming highly desirable these days—low slung sedans are no longer the rage. This car, with its rugged but sophisticated styling and pretty much anything you could want, will fill anyone’s needs and then some. As a plug-in hybrid, if it spends most of its time on local runs and gets charged up regularly, it will function as an EV much of the time. But with all-wheel drive and a gas engine, it will take you to the ski destination of your choice painlessly.
The 530e Sedan
The BMW 5 Series has enjoyed a long and happy life in the BMW lineup. The 2021 model marks the seventh generation of the “executive size” sedan that debuted in 1972. Larger than the compact 3 Series and smaller than the grand 7 Series, it’s perfect for any driving occasion.
The 530e brings plug-in hybrid power. While both the standard 530i and the 530e have 2.0-liter gas engines, the 530e gets an electric motor with 107 horsepower and 195 lb.-ft. of torque, making the “e” more powerful, with a total of 288 horsepower and 310 lb.-ft. of torque. The “e” gets from 0-60 0.2 seconds faster as well, at 5.7 seconds.
While the EPA gives the 530i gas-only car fuel economy numbers of 25 City, 33 Highway, and 28 combined, the 530e gets 64 MPGe with electricity and gasoline and 26 miles per gallon with gas only. EPA Green scores are 7 for Smog and 8 for Greenhouse Gas.
The 12-kWh battery is tucked out of sight, but it does steal 4 cubic feet of trunk space, while adding weight that makes the 530e about 450 pounds heavier than the 530i.
However, it’s still the same 5 Series experience, except you can drive locally without burning gas! With 21 miles of range, the car functions as an electric car around town and for short freeway commutes. You can charge it up at home, at work, or while shopping at Whole Foods.
Option it Up the Way You Want it
My tester wore a brilliant Phytonic Blue Metallic and featured Ivory White Nappa leather within. BMW leather always smells nice and conveys a premium feel. My tester had a number of packages that added to the luxury and comfort. Driving Assistance Plus includes Extended Traffic Jam Assistant, which, as I am working from home, I didn’t get to try. The Shadowline Package adds extra lighting. The M Sport package brings performance and design upgrades, including variable sport steering, the M Sport suspension, special 19- or 20-inch upgraded rims, and an aerodynamic kit. The Parking Assistance Package would have made parking easy, if I had needed it. The Premium Package includes pleasures like a Harman-Kardon audio system and gesture control.
As with any BMW, you can go wild with optional features. My tester base priced at $57,200, but with options plus shipping came to an eye-opening $70,485. For comparison, the base price of the fossil-fuel-only 530i, pre-shipping, is $54,200, $3,000 less than the 530e.
All 5-Series models receive some subtle updates this year, including a larger, taller set of twin kidney grilles along with resculpted LED headlamps up front. Trapezoidal tailpipe finishers perk up the tail end. Inside, Live Cockpit gives you generous 12.3-inch instrument panel and dash center screens. This blends modern computer screen controls with some of the classic feel of the BMWs drivers have loved over the decades.
Most EVs, being silent, can surprise unsuspecting walkers. So, BMW offers Acoustic Protection for Pedestrians, which makes what BMW calls an “unmistakable sound” at up to 19 miles per hour to warn the inattentive.
The 530e does its electric driving subtly, but cruising in it in silence can put you in your happy place, even if it’s not for an extended time. But soon, you’ll be able to enjoy an all-electric midsize sedan from BMW—the i4. Stay tuned.
For an EV enthusiast—or any American car shopper—the Ford Mustang Mach-E is one of the most intriguing and important auto debuts in years. As an all-electric SUV, it’s as revolutionary as the original 1965 Mustang was in 1964 and points the way to the future, while intimately linking to Ford’s most iconic brand.
The original Ford Mustang, a low-slung sport coupe and convertible based on the compact Falcon platform, offered excitement and affordability, and was the right car at the right time. Hundreds of thousands were sold from the starting gun, invigorating Ford and creating the “pony car” segment.
Over the years, the Mustang has had its great and not so great moments, growing hulking in the early 1970s and shrinking down to Pinto size as a reaction to mid 70’s fuel shortages. It found its footing in 1979 with the form it would hold onto for decades, rounding out in the 1990s and surviving to this day. You can still get a reasonable model with a 2.3-liter EcoBoost Turbo or grab a V8-powered Shelby or other supercar variant.
The Mach-E is Different
But the Mustang Mach-E is different. It’s got four doors, for one thing (although the “E-latch” handles are hidden). It’s all-electric. While its length and width are comparable to the regular Mustang, it stands nearly 10 inches taller, and boasts 101 cubic feet (cf) of interior volume versus 83 cf for the coupe. Sitting in the spacious rear seat, I looked up through the panoramic glass roof and thought of how fun the Mustang would be for four people to take on a long trip.
Ford’s EV history is not impressive so far. They sold the competitive Fusion plug-in hybrid for years (particularly nice in the later design) with the Europe-designed C-Max minivan sharing the drivetrain. Ford offered a 76-mile-range Focus with a $40K price tag that was a California compliance car. The new hybrid version of the F-150 pickup has just arrived and I spent a week with it recently. But the Mustang Mach-E is a new milestone in the company’s movement into the electric vehicle future.
So, what makes the Mach-E a Mustang, and not just Ford’s first serious all-electric car? It’s styling and performance.
Surely there were prolonged and heated discussions in the Ford boardroom about “diluting the brand” but I believe that in the end, they decided to spend a little of their amassed brand equity in order to bless this car with everything they could muster to make it successful. People love SUVs these days and have no problem thinking of them as desirable, sporty vehicles. They are not the truck-based Jeep and International Harvester wagons that were around when the original Mustang debuted at the 1964 New York World’s Fair.
Mustang styling cues include a long and curvaceous hood, muscular sides with rear haunches, a Mustang face with piercing eyes (and a big filled-in grille) and, of course, those tri-bar taillights. There is the running horse logo, of course, seen on the nose and tail, inside on graphics and the screens, and as puddle lamps at night.
Unlike with the coupe and convertible, with the Mach-E you step right in, not down. The sporty bucket seats are covered in “Activex” – an animal-free “leather.” You sit in a typical crossover position, riding high. Legroom front and rear is generous, and headroom is amazing. Just a side note—the Mustang coupe is one of the very few cars that will not hold an upright bass. With the Mach-E, you could just drop the second-row seats and slide that bass right in, with nearly 60 cubic feet of cargo space. With the seats up, I filled the cargo hold (29.7 cf), with groceries on a rare venture out.
The Mach-E’s motor puts out 346 horsepower (428 lb.-ft. of torque) in the standard form and 480 hp (634 lb.-ft.) for the upcoming GT version, due this summer. With the silent powertrain, instant electric torque, and responsive steering through a fat leather-wrapped wheel, I had a blast taking the car on back roads as well as cruising through town. It feels strong and grounded, with the heavy battery pack providing the 64-inch-tall Mach-E with a low center of gravity for road-hugging stability.
Electric cars are rated by the EPA in miles per gallon equivalent—MPGe. The Mach-E gets 105 City, 93 highway, and 105 Combined. Compare these numbers to other EVs’s stats. Weighing between 4,400 and 4,900 pounds, depending on battery size and rear- or all-wheel drive configuration, the new Mustang is not the most efficient EV, but it’s comparable to others of its size and purpose. Of course, the EPA Green scores are a pair of perfect 10’s for Smog and Greenhouse Gas.
The range between charges varies depending on battery size and the number of drive wheels. The rear-wheel-drive car with the standard 66 kWh lithium-ion battery gets 230 miles per the EPA. The 88-kWh extended range battery brings it up to 300 miles. Add all-wheel drive and those numbers drop to 211 and 270 respectively.
The liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery pack sits below the floor and between the axles in a waterproof case with crash absorption protection. That location, preferred for cars designed specifically as EVs, means interior volume is uncompromised.
One of the benefits of EVs is the ability to use one-pedal driving. This means you press on the accelerator to go forward and lift off to slow down using regenerative braking—even coming to a complete stop in some cars, including this Mustang. You can choose not to use it if you wish. I enjoyed one-pedal driving during my three years with my Bolt EV, and with a gearless car, it approximates downshifting with a manual transmission. It also means your brakes pads will last a long time—EVs are known for needing virtually no service.
Modern but Familiar Interior
The Mustang’s interior blends Mustang cues with the modern, simplified design made popular by Tesla. There’s a 15.5-inch vertical screen in the center of the dash that houses the latest version of Ford’s SYNC system, and it works pretty well, although it obscures the traditional twin-cove Mustang dash design.
Along the screen’s waist are a half dozen boxes that you can swipe and select for entertainment, information, navigation, tire pressure, and so on. Tap a box and the upper half of the screen fills in with easy-to-read information. Touch a spot on the top of the screen to open up a place to configure multiple setups. Ford promises over-the-air updates of its SYNC system, just like you-know-who.
Unlike Tesla, the Mach-E provides a small rectangular instrument panel behind the steering wheel, with a digital speedometer, a long blue bar displaying battery range (essential to monitor, impossible to miss), and a few other bits of info, like transmission setting. There’s also a tiny image of the car at the left above the range bar, and a humorous “easter egg”—it says “Ground Speed” under the digital speedometer. A head-up display appears in the windshield as well.
The FordPass phone app lets you go without a key fob (a la Tesla). I tested it, and while the doors locked and unlocked (with an annoying several-second delay), I was unsuccessful at starting the car with it. In fact, with the fob inside my house, I touched the car’s Start button and a screen message demanded to have the fob nearby and started honking the horn! Surely this would get worked out if you owned the car. The app displays lots of helpful info as well, including charging locations, with 13,500 charging stations included in the FordPass network from third parties.
Pricing for the Mach-E starts at $42,895 for the Select. My test car, the next level Premium in Carbonized Gray Metallic Paint with Black Performance Activex interior, had a base price of $47,000. With the optional extended range battery ($5,000) and $1,100 for destination and delivery, the sticker said $53,100.
How the Mustang Competes
Certainly, the Mustang Mach-E, in its premium configurations, is aimed at folks considering cars like the upscale Porsche Macan and Audi e-Tron, but the big target is the Tesla Model Y. Both cars offer standard and performance editions and rear- or all-wheel drive. The Mustang sits on a 3.8-inch longer wheelbase than the Model Y but is 1.4 inches shorter nose to tail. It is an inch and a half narrower but stands a tenth of an inch taller. Weight is similar. So, the cars are essentially the same size.
The Tesla offers significantly better EPA green scores, but both cars are pure EVs. Interestingly, the EPA calls the Mustang Mach-E a “Small Station Wagon” and the Tesla a “Small SUV.”
How the Mach-E Takes on the Tesla Model Y
So, what DOES the Mustang offer? It’s style. The Model Y looks like other Teslas—pleasantly rounded, but subtle, with a grilleless face, generic-looking taillamps, and soft contours. The interiors are spartan Danish Modern in their sober restraint, with only a big, wide screen to interact with. The Mustang, however, is notably muscular, wears its traditional livery well, and inside, feels more like the cars we know and love.
This could be the Mustang’s most important role—using its emotional appeal to entice folks who admire Teslas but love the cars they remember and have enjoyed. Everybody knows what Mustangs are. Ford, who put America on wheels with the Model T, has had numerous other hits (1949 sedan, 1960 Falcon, Thunderbird, Taurus, Explorer) and a few misses (Edsel). This gives them more than a century of brand equity and tradition that Tesla can’t offer. So, if Ford can match Tesla’s performance and approximate the tech but offer more style and curb appeal, not to mention an expansive national dealership network, maybe they’ll bring new buyers into the EV fold. A successful Mustang Mach-E can then lead to more electric Fords as we leave fossil-fuel-burning cars in the dust over the next 10-15 years.
Micromobility—including scooters—is the latest quick and clean way to get around urban areas. But one big problem is managing where the fleets of shared scooters go and where they’re parked. Fantasmo has a solution—camera vision-based positioning. Fantasmo enables it by first mapping cities at the ground level, and then scooter riders use the camera on their phone to accurately record their exact position when it comes time to park.
A bit of history. When the first scooter fleets started operating in Santa Monica, California, riders took an end-of-ride photo that roughly placed their location. GPS was used to create a geofence in the city to say, keep scooters out of parks, but was not very accurate. When other cities started having scooter fleets, their biggest issues were bad parking and clutter and sidewalk riding. GPS mapping was too blunt of an instrument to monitor it effectively. Now, cities like San Francisco and Chicago simply require e-scooters to be locked to posts or signs to keep them out of the walkway.
Fantasmo’s technology solves this issue by providing the granularity to make accurate tracking of scooter parking possible. It will also come in handy for future applications, such as tracking delivery bots and use by the visually impaired.
Fantasmo is a seven-year-old US-based startup that’s backed by investors including Unlock Venture Partners, Freestyle Capital, TenOneTen Ventures, and LDV capital, among others.
I spoke with Jameson Detweiler, co-founder and president of Fantasmo, about his company and the software and hardware that make this possible. Educated at Drexel University in Material Science and Engineering, Jameson also has plenty of startup and leadership experience. He previously co-founded LaunchRock, an idea launching product, was founder and CEO of GreenKonnect, a human-powered search engine for the green building industry, and he co-founded LED lighting startup Summalux.
Fantasmo began as Fantasmo Studios. They were looking for the technology to create augmented reality games like Pokemon Go, which superimpose the game onto your actual surroundings. But it soon grew into much more.
“We wanted to combine alternate reality games with machines to better understand the real world and how to assist humans,” said Jameson. “We decided to focus on the next generation of mapping technology.”
Positioning from satellites, GPS is used by many applications, but the problem in cities is that buildings, trees, and other objects can block the view of the street. This causes inaccuracies when the signal bounces off of these objects. Fantasmo’s solution is to build a 3D map of cities at the ground level, collected using cameras and sensors similar to those found on EVs. Once a city is mapped, Fantasmo can determine someone or something’s position by pinning camera footage to that digital map using its Camera Positioning System (CPS)—an alternative to GPS.
“We can create a visual fingerprint from the surroundings, like a big QR code, and use advanced math to interpolate from the images,” said Jameson.
Fantasmo maps a city using the 22-pound Fantasmo Explorer backpack, which a Fantasmo employee wears as they walk down the sidewalks of the target city.
Fantasmo recently mapped 1,800 kilometers (1,118 miles) of Paris by foot, and is now working in York, with more cities on the way (under the TIER partnership). By taking the images from the sidewalk, it can target exactly where the scooters are at the end of a ride, when the rider uses their camera to take a few seconds of video images of the surrounding buildings.
The Paris project employed six backpacks, each shared by two people working shifts for a few weeks. The French capital enjoys high scooter usage, and with limited sidewalk space, has designated 2,500 mandatory parking corrals for them. Fantasmo mapped these areas first and will eventually map the entire city.
The high-tech backpacks are set up with shoulder and waist straps, like good backpacking gear. They bristle with two lidar “pucks” and six cameras, like the ones used on autonomous vehicles, and are a little like micro-sized, wearable Google mapping cars. After a couple hours of training, the employees follow their assigned missions for the day, using iPads to communicate with the backpacks.
Now, when a French scooter rider is ending their ride, they will use the TIER app to scan the surroundings for a few seconds and the app tells them if they are in a designated parking area, to an accuracy of 20 cm (just under 8 inches). If they are not, then they must move to one before they can end their ride. No physical infrastructure is needed.
Fantasmo manages the entire mapping project for a city for TIER or any other client. This means that they visit the target city and use their mission planning tool to draw the boundaries and create walking routes to cover the whole city. Once those routes are queued up, they can be assigned to the walkers. Fantasmo’s system monitors progress and can fill in any gaps that may occur.
Naturally, there are changes in a city over time, but the software can flag changes when riders use it, so new images can be taken, say, if a building is torn down. However, the initial backpack mapping creates a “substrate layer” that doesn’t need much updating. The images use solid, permanent items like a building’s windowsills, so changes in signage, for example, don’t affect the accuracy.
“It’s a dynamic situation,” said Jameson. “We recently had to skip mapping a section in York because it was flooded,” said Jameson.
Jameson sees the future in self-healing maps, and the use of data from more sources.
“For the next generation, any device can take images, masking out personal data, and create a digital twin of a city,” said Jameson. “This will be good for autonomous solutions for micromobility, pedestrians, and cars.“
He also sees a time when the technology will live on the scooters themselves.
“We’ll know where the scooter is 100 percent of the time,” said Jameson. The scooters will be as smart as robots.”
Jameson believes that accurate positioning is a steppingstone to real autonomy in cities. Every device will be aware of itself, its location, and other vehicles, scooters, bikes, and people. And thanks to the shared mapping, it will be able to “see through buildings.” The goal is zero accidents and maximum efficiency. Fantasmo’s applications also work with mobile, auto, and robotics, so there are lots of exciting things coming.
When will the company come home and start mapping American cities? There are plans, and Fantasmo will announce them when it’s time.
Autonomy and micromobility are essential to the health of our cities, and Fantasmo’s mapping technology is in the middle of it, making it happen.