This Autonomous Vehicle Will Carry Your Groceries
Colin Payne posted on February 09, 2017 |

In its first offering as a company, Piaggio Fast Forward’s GITA autonomous vehicle could change the way we think about moving people and goods. Designed to extend a person’s carrying capabilities, GITA (Italian for “short trip”) is an intelligent vehicle with a communicative personality can move autonomously in a mapped environment.

Piaggio Fast Forward is a new U.S. company established by the Piaggio Group, a European manufacturer of two-wheel motor vehicles and other light mobility products. Piaggio is also the maker of the iconic Vespa scooter.

(Image courtesy of Piaggio Fast Forward.)
“The transportation and robotics industries tend to focus on optimizing tasks and displacing labor,” said Fast Forward CEO, Jeffrey Schnapp. “We are developing products that augment and extend human capabilities, instead of simply seeking to replace them.”

At 26 inches tall, GITA has a carrying capacity of 40 pounds and a maximum speed of 22 miles per hour. It’s designed to accompany people at speeds from crawling all the way up to riding a bike.

(Image courtesy of Piaggio Fast Forward.)
(Image courtesy of Piaggio Fast Forward.)
Its zero turning radius allows it to maneuver responsively in both indoor and outdoor environments, and it can either follow its owner, or move autonomously along pathways it has already traveled.

This new technology means that instead of driving to the store to pick up 40 pounds worth of goods, a person could walk or bike and let GITA do the heavy lifting. GITA also has an older brother named KILO, which is able to carry up to 250 pounds and larger pieces of cargo.

KILO next to GITA. (Image courtesy of Piaggio Fast Forward.)
KILO next to GITA. (Image courtesy of Piaggio Fast Forward.)

"Think about how much more freely you would be able to move from one point to another if lugging cumbersome items was removed from the equation," said Schnapp. "GITA frees up the human hand to focus on complex and creative everyday tasks by taking over mundane transportation chores. You can also send your GITA off on missions while you are busy doing something more pressing."

Although GITA is not yet available for consumer purchase, Piaggio Fast Forward will be deploying it in a variety of business-to-business pilot programs in the short term, while researching future consumer applications for the product.

For more personal autonomous assistance, check out Panasonic’s delivery robot.

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