Piaggio Group, the largest European manufacturer of two-wheel motor vehicles, a leader in light mobility founded over 130 years ago, has launched Piaggio Fast Forward, a newly-established company based in the U.S. formed to pioneer the future of light mobility by fundamentally rethinking the movement of people and goods.
“We have established Piaggio Fast Forward to reinvent the future of mobility and this is best accomplished with PFF as a separate entity, but with the backing and experience of the Piaggio Group,” said Mr. Michele Colaninno, Chairman of the Board of PFF. “You can expect to find Piaggio Fast Forward blurring the lines between transportation, robotics, and urban environments.”
Piaggio Fast Forward is based in Boston, Massachusetts and is led by CEO Jeffrey Schnapp, Chief Creative Officer Greg Lynn, Chief Operating Officer Sasha Hoffman and Chief Design Research Officer Dr. Beth Altringer. PFF’s Board of Advisors include Nicholas Negroponte (Founder, MIT Media Lab), John Hoke (VP Global Design, Nike), Doug Brent (VP Technology Innovation, Trimble), and Jeff Linnell (former Director of Robotics, Google).
“The transportation and robotics industries tend to focus on optimizing tasks and displacing labor,” according to Jeffrey Schnapp, CEO of Piaggio Fast Forward “We are developing products that augment and extend human capabilities, instead of simply seeking to replace them.“
Piaggio Fast Forward’s first offering is Gita (pronounced “jee-ta” and in Italian means a “short trip”), an autonomous vehicle that extends a person’s cargo-carrying abilities. Gita is an intelligent vehicle with a communicative personality. It learns and navigates indoors and out with the oversight and decision-making of humans. Gita is able to follow a human operator or move autonomously in a mapped environment.
Gita is 26 inches tall, has a cargo carrying capacity of 40 lbs, and a maximum speed of 22 mph. Gita is designed to travel at human speeds with human agility. Gita has a zero turning radius and is designed to accompany people at speeds from a crawl, to a walk, to a jog, to riding a bike. 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.
“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,” added 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.“
PFF will be deploying Gita in a variety of B2B pilot programs in the near term, with an eye toward future consumer applications