Bird unveils “Smart Sidewalk Protection” technology

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Bird has unveiled its new “Smart Sidewalk Protection” technology, a system designed to tackle pavement riding and dangerous behaviour by e-scooter users.

Developed in partnership with GPS/GNSS positioning firm u-blox, the solution utilises a sensor-fusion module which aims to combine multiple data streams into a single, accurate location measurement.

By combining u-blox’s ZED-F9R module with sidewalk mapping and Bird’s suite of onboard vehicle sensors, Bird claim that the integrated system can detect and prevent sidewalk or footpath riding in real-time.

The solution is also designed to bring a vehicle that has moved onto a sidewalk to a safe stop, while allowing the rider to walk the vehicle back to the roadway or bike lane.

The sidewalk detection technology is currently being piloted in Milwaukee and San Diego, and is expected to be piloted in Madrid in early 2022.

Bird CEO Scott Rushforth said: “Everything we build at Bird is centred around safety and scalability, sidewalk riding detection is no exception. After three years of building, testing and piloting a range of technologies including but not limited to onboard cameras, GPS tracking, ultra-wideband and beacons, we found that each was insufficient with regard to accuracy, precision, immediacy or scalability. Our testing led us to a collaboration with u-blox which resulted in the development of our end-to-end sensor fusion solution that meets our criteria.”

“We are very excited about this collaboration between u-blox and Bird,” added Alex Ngi, Product Manager Positioning at u-blox.

“Our centimetre-level precise GNSS positioning technology will now be implemented in the expanding micromobility industry, strengthening our contribution to a safer and more ecological world.”

Bird has micromobility fleets in more than 300 cities around the world.

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