Piaggio Fast Forward is a subsidiary of the storied Italian automotive company Piaggio. It has launched its second robot, a compact version its cargo-carrying bot Gita called Gitamini.
Gitamini's form and function are the same as full-sized Gita. The name Gitamini is Italian for small trips or outings. It consists of two large wheels and a central trunk. The robot also has a machine vision system, which it uses to follow its owner. Gitamini is 28 pounds and can transport up to 20 pounds inside for 21 miles. This is a striking comparison to Gitamini, which can transport more than 40 pounds but for only 12 miles.
Gitamini uses a variety of sensors and cameras to follow its user and navigate. You simply need to stand in front Gitamini and press a pairing button. The robot will then connect to you via vision alone (no GPS, Bluetooth or GPS) and follow you at up to 6 mph.
While the robot's trunk can be locked and its following mode disabled, there are no active theft mitigation options. Greg Lynn, CEO of Piaggio Fast Forwards, stated that the robot's trunk can be locked and its follow mode disabled. However, it is unlikely that someone would walk away without noticing it because it is such a prominent object. Lynn says that a stolen Gita doesn't have much value because it has a secure connection to a smartphone to allow for unlocked, updated and used. We have not yet heard of any Gitas being stolen or broken into while they are being used, or parked.
Gita was always a strange product. The Gita looks amazing, and the videos show that it does work as advertised. However, it is noisier than one might think. It's not clear who will spend thousands on something that can only carry a few bags and is limited by the number of steps and stairs. Gitamini does not address these issues, but it is cheaper at $1,850. It will be available for purchase at mygita.com starting October 15th. The original Gita will drop to $2,950 after the launch.
We asked CEO Greg Lynn about his robot. He declined to give us sales figures but stated that there were Gita robotics in half of the US [...] states with a special focus on the Southern Belt, where the outdoor weather is more pleasant all year.
Lynn said that most of the consumer Gitas can be used to replace car trips in neighborhoods for neighborhood errands. They can also be used outdoors for trips of at least a mile. He did mention that there were also business customers. Gitas are located in eight US airports (including JFK, LAX), and in a few more planned communities like Water Street Tampa in Florida or Ontario Ranch in California.