The Inu scooter folds up into the size of a suitcase. The Inu scooter folds up into the size of a suitcase. The Inu scooter folds up into the size of a suitcase. But that's just one of it's many attractive features. (Photo: Green Ride)

Elegant new urban scooter folds into a suitcase with the click of a button

Internet-connected ride also takes selfies, films video and becomes a Wi-Fi hotspot.

Urban commuters are finding creative ways to move about their city. With traffic woes worsening and gas prices constantly fluctuating, innovative ride-sharing services and alternative vehicles are gaining in popularity. Once the provenance of European and Asian cities, scooters of all types – both electric and gas-powered – are now becoming mainstream in the United States as well.

American cities are taking note of the growing trend by creating special lanes, installing charging stations and designating what's known as "ciclovias" – certain streets that become car-free zones at special times. Pasadena, Calif., hosts these on a regular basis.

When the Inu scooter is parked, it turns itself into a WiFi hotspot.When the Inu scooter is parked, it turns itself into a WiFi hotspot. (Photo: Green Ride)

And new innovations in the scooter world are arriving at a rapid clip. An exciting new entry is the electric scooter called the Inu, invoking the Japanese word for dog. "Our intention is it's your friend in the city, and it's loyal," explains Nadav Attias, co-founder of Green Ride, the Israel-based company behind the Inu. "It goes with you all the time, and you take it with you wherever you can go."

The Inu stands out from a crowded market with a bevy of bells and whistles. It has an on-board computer. Squeeze the handlebars, and the scooter will take a selfie of you and automatically post it to your social media accounts. Click it again, and it will take a video. The scooter syncs with a smartphone so that you can listen to your music and answer calls, all hands-free. When the Inu is parked, the Internet-connected scooter becomes a Wi-Fi hotspot. It has a built-in GPS tracker in case it ever gets lost or stolen. And, oh yeah, with the click of a button, it instantly folds up into a suitcase.

Not surprisingly, it's been dubbed the Rolls Royce of scooters, and received lots of adoring glances at this year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Attias and his team of engineers have spent the past two years developing the Inu in their downtown Haifa office. Taking a page out of Apple's design playbook, every last detail was painstakingly considered. To figure out how to get the scooter to fold up in the most elegant fashion, they hired a dancer and choreographed the graceful movements. "We wanted this folding to look more than just like something mechanical," he tells From The Grapevine. "We wanted it to be something that looks very beautiful."

The Inu will be available in the United States and Europe starting in early 2016, but customers can already pre-order them.

Meanwhile, the Green Ride team is already hard at work on their second-generation Inu and hints at even more innovative models in the future. "We're not a scooter company. We're a personal mobility company," Attias says, teasing that a future product might not even have wheels.

Could it be the oft-admired hoverboard from "Back to the Future"? Only time will tell.


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