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The death of Micromobility 1.0

Hello Llama CEO Bryan Ovalle shares why he thinks the Paris vote has spurred a new version of micromobility that raises the bar for safety standards.

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Author: Bryan Ovalle, Co-Founder and CEO, Hello Llama 

On 02 April 2023, roughly 100,000 Parisians stood in line to vote on a referendum that would not renew the contract for shared scooter providers in the French capital. When the final votes were tallied, an overwhelming 89% were not in favour of renewing; seemingly shattering the image of the “golden example” of how shared micromobility could and should work in a major city. Unknown to this small but motivated section of the population was that they may have unknowingly saved micromobility globally for us all…

For a shared system that registered 27,000 trips daily in the city, it seems strange that the popular transit option would not be renewed. At the centre of the opposition was the notion that the micromobility operators were not doing enough to combat safety issues related to accidents and poor parking – a common concern across other major cities with shared micromobility. This vote formalised a cry from the public that, while the system was popular, the citizens were no longer willing to accept the bare minimum related to the safety of these systems and the risk they introduced. Micromobility version 1.0 was symbolically killed that day and in its place, the demand for enhanced safety and Micromobility 2.0 was laid before the operators.

Galvanising the masses through safety

Like with other forms of transport, such as cars, the market eventually demands safer experiences and new technology is adopted, becoming standard equipment: safety glass, turn signals, seat belts, air bags, ABS brakes and now ADAS. You’d likely never ride in a car without these features today, let alone put your loved ones at risk by doing so, and this is the transformation happening right now in micromobility. Operators and OEMs have been put on notice that in order to continue, they must set new standards in safety or risk continuously losing market share. 

Hidden within this new demand for Micromobility 2.0 is the opportunity to unlock the uninitiated masses of new riders that previously viewed the systems as unsafe and too risky. By activating the majority of the adoption curve with new riders, operators can see their average rides per day compound and profitability skyrocket. At Hello Llama AI, we are delivering enhanced vehicle safety to each rider, one ride at a time, with the mission to enable and protect half a billion new riders. 

Bringing lessons from commercial micromobility to the consumer world

And if you believe, like we do at Llama, that Micromobility 2.0 will see rapid growth in personal ownership, then active safety is even more important. Parisians weren’t saying no to e-mobility devices, they were saying, “Shared operators need to do better, but we still want these and will buy our own”. Born in the commercial shared sector, Hello Llama’s safety system combines multiple sensing technologies through a proprietary sensor fusion system, while on-the-edge AI algorithms protect, enforce, and record data during each ride. By combining multiple technologies, tested in the commercial landscape, we are leaning into providing this technology to consumers so they can have the safest journey possible.  

If you make it safe, they will ride 

The stakes couldn’t be higher as the true cost of not evolving and raising the bar for safety technology for these transport modes will be on the families that suffer from preventable accidents and injuries (or worse). Modern roads were built for cars and anyone outside of a car on the road is a vulnerable user by comparison. Hello Llama wants to even the odds for everyone else, to create safe coexistence on the streets and welcome 100s of millions of new riders to the safety and protection of the Llama Herd over the coming years.

We’re so excited about the opportunity to share our technology and protect more riders, support more cities, and help more operators grow. We feel that partnerships are essential to form across the stakeholder map to spur further innovation and collaboration in regards to safety on the streets and are eager to speak with others committed to the safety movement to realise Vision Zero. 

Please connect with us at Micromobility Europe 2023 on June 8-9 as well as at Eurobike 2023 on June 21-23 or reach out directly. See you there!

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