Piaggio Fast Forward (PFF), a Boston-based subsidiary of the Piaggio Group, has unveiled its first product. Meet Gita (pronounced “jee-ta”), a delivery robot that will debut in February 2017 in B2B pilot programs. PFF says it’s also looking at consumer applications in the future.
Gita is designed to help people carry things from one place to another. PFF describes Gita as a vehicle, but it’s more of an autonomous courier or suitcase. Think of Gita as a sleeker Budgee robot.
Gita can follow behind you or travel on its own to a pre-mapped destination. Eventually, PFF hopes Gita will be able to travel in convoys. Gita is 26 inches tall, can carry up to 40 lbs, and has a maximum speed of 22 MPH. Gita’s speed is currently capped at 11 MPH, however, but that’s still faster than other delivery robots. Starship Technologies, for example, has capped its delivery robots at 4 MPH for safety reasons, according to CEO Ahti Heinla.
Once it has traveled along a path, Gita can map that route and operate autonomously on that route going forward. Gita’s cargo lid is securely locked, of course, and the robot is equipped with a 360 degree camera that human operators can use to monitor.
“The transportation and robotics industries tend to focus on optimizing tasks and displacing labor,” says Jeffrey Schnapp, CEO of PFF. “We are developing products that augment and extend human capabilities, instead of simply seeking to replace them.”
PFF says Gita is designed to keep up with people moving at different speeds, whether they’re crawling, walking, jogging or riding a bike. According to the Gita product page, which has been mostly locked down since we came across it this morning, said Gita’s battery lasts for 8 hours when Gita is moving at a walking speed.
“Instead of deciding to use an automobile or truck to transport 40 pounds worth of packages, Piaggio Fast Forward wants to help people walk, run, pedal and skate through life with the assistance of a family of vehicles like Gita,” the company says.
“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,” adds 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.”
We put together the video atop this page based on images on videos from the aforementioned Gita product page that is now locked down. PFF is privately demoing Gita on Thursday night. We’ll be there and will update this story with new information.
Here are a couple PFF videos from Gita’s point of view:
Best known for introducing the Vespa scooter in 1946, the Piaggio Group is the largest European manufacturer of two-wheel motor vehicles.