Watch Voi trial e-scooters equipped with computer vision technology from Luna to keep riders off pavements
Voi has launched the world’s first large-scale trial of computer vision technology for e-scooters.
The operator, which is running the e-scooter hire service in Cambridge, says the technology from Ireland-based micromobility tech start-up Luna is designed to keep riders off pavements and vulnerable pedestrians safe.
The technology features on-board smart cameras, which are designed to recognise if a scooter is on a footpath, cycle lane or road.
An audible alarm alerts the rider if they are riding on the pavement.
E-scooters in government-backed trials such as the one in Cambridge can only be used on roads and cycle paths in designated areas. You need at least a provisional driving licence to ride one.
Having tested the technology in Stockholm, where it is based, Voi is now beginning a two-stage trial on the streets of Northampton, having trained computer vision algorithms with hours of video footage from the town.
A controlled user group will road test the technology to collect real-time visual information on the environment the e-scooter is travelling through, while detecting pedestrians in the path of the e-scooter.
Later in the summer, about 100 cameras will be installed on the publicly available scooter fleet in Northampton.
In addition to testing the audible alert, Voi says this phase of the pilot will explore the potential to slow scooters automatically if inappropriate riding is detected on footpaths or in heavily pedestrianised areas.
Data will be shared with the local authority so it can see where e-scooters are being ridden and help Voi correct anti-social riding.
Luna, meanwhile, aims to integrate the camera technology directly into the stem or handlebars of the e-scooters for rent by 2022.
Voi said the technology could then come to Cambridge and other cities where it has e-scooters.
Fredrik Hjelm, co-founder and CEO of Voi Technology, said: “With computer vision e-scooters can be trained to see and recognise situations that are hazardous. This world-first pilot will set new standards of safety for this new form of transport.
“Having helped riders to take more than 60 million rides across Europe we understand deeply the issues involved in e-scooter safety and are always looking for ways to do better. We are very proud to be the first e-scooter operator to incorporate the computer vision technology at scale for the benefit of our riders, pedestrians and authorities.”
The Luna parking algorithm will also be able to spot if a scooter is positioned correctly in a ‘virtual dock’ by using a painted scooter logo or corral on the ground, or any other surrounding visual clues that it is trained to detect.
Using the camera as a sensor, Luna says this will help riders park with a level of accuracy unmatched by standard GPS technology.