Tech innovations unveiled and Ireland enters the field

22 July 2021

All the latest on micromobility in the UK and across Europe.

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A number of shared e-scooter operators have unveiled new tech innovations over the last few weeks as safety and user-experience enhancements continue to accelerate.

First up, US-firm Superpedestrian announced the acquisition of Navmatic, which has developed its patented Super Fusion fleet positioning and vehicle control technology.

The tech has since been integrated with Superpedestrian’s Vehicle Intelligence platform on its LINK e-scooters, with the aim of preventing unsafe practices such as sidewalk riding, wrong-way riding, aggressive swerving and repeated hard braking.

In other tech news, Voi launched its “computer vision” pilot in partnership with Luna to tackle unsafe rider behaviour, while TIER partnered with Google Maps in 11 European cities.

Since early July, riders in major European cities including Berlin, Vienna, Oslo and Stockholm, have been able to locate nearby e-scooters directly from Google Maps by simply pressing the TIER button.

In Ireland, the first ever e-scooter trial began at the Dublin City University on Tuesday as the country continues to look into making e-scooters street-legal.

The research pilot will involve the collaboration of leading shared e-scooter operator TIER, Irish micromobility tech platform Luna, the Insight SFI Research Centre For Data Analytics, and Smart DCU.

Finally, a further three boroughs – City of London, Lambeth and Southwark – have joined the London e-scooter trials.

With TfL confirming to Zag that Westminster will also come on-board 2 August, the trial is gaining in traction and size with more than eight months still to run.

On our radar:

1. Cycling group calls for increase in micromobility parking

What: London Cycling Campaign has called for a significant increase in the number of micromobility parking options across London.

Why it matters: With the e-scooter trials continuing to expand across London and the rest of the UK, infrastructure will have to catch up. With the onset of e-scooters and e-bikes, the LCC argue that road space should be reallocated for parking for more sustainable micromobility options.

2. Bird tackle drunk riding with new safety feature

What: Shared e-scooter operator Bird has unveiled its new in-app safety feature Safe Start, designed to prevent people from riding e-scooters while drunk

Why it matters: Between the hours of 10pm and 4am, riders attempting to hire a scooter will have to correctly enter a keyword into the app. If it works, this could prove a positive development in tackling dangerous riding, which Voi research has shown increases at night.

3. Private e-scooters not illegal in 80% of countries, according to Halfords research

What: New research from UK-based retailer Halfords has revealed that private e-scooters are not illegal in 80% of countries around the world.

Why it matters: Private e-scooters remain illegal in the UK, but it seems the country is very much in the minority. Halfords is calling for the introduction of clear framework and regulation that help make e-scooters safe to ride on the UK’s roads as a result.

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