The second micromobility conference happened this week.
What’s micromobility? Horace Dediu (who runs the conference) defines it as utility transportation using powered vehicles that weigh less than 500kg: electric bikes and scooters. Lime’s, Jump’s and Bird’s scooters became huge in the US in 2018, and they’re driving what Dediu envisions as “the unbundling of the car” – from the bottom (short trips) up, more and more trips will be micromobility-powered, which will decrease car utilization and eventually car sales. As someone from the Netherlands, where getting in a car for any trip shorter than 5km is extremely unusual, this prediction makes perfect sense to me. I’ve been living it for years, with human-pedalled bicycles instead of electric scooters. (See Modacity’s Building the Cycling City
for a good primer on this.)
One problem that’s popped up with micromobility has been crashes: it’s dangerous for scooter riders to be around cars on the road, and dangerous for pedestrians to be around scooter riders on the sidewalk. Some US cities have responded to this by banning or severely restricting the use of scooters. This seems crazy to me. Cities should be building cycling infrastructure, which will further enable transportation that’s both healthier for people and better for the environment, whether the bike lanes are used for micromobility or cycling.
This intersection of micromobility and cycling infrastructure is something that’s been both fascinating and frustrating to me in the past year, so I might write more about it in the future. In the mean time, check out these posts (especially the first):
Sony’s 3D cameras might be in the next iPhone.
The 3D smartphone cameras that are coming to Huawai’s next generation of phones (see DT #4
) are now rumored to be coming to Apple’s next flagship phones too. Apple has been pushing augmented reality a lot in the past few years, and this could bring the long-distance equivalent of the iPhone’s front-facing TrueDepth camera (used for FaceID and Memoji) to its main, rear camera. It should make current apps that use the iOS ARKit framework much better, but, again, the real question is what cool new usecases developers will come up with as the sensor spreads to more phones. Mark Gurman and Debby Wu’s report at Bloomberg: Apple Is Planning 3-D Cameras for New iPhones in AR Push