The first electric scooter trial in Ireland was launched at the five campuses of Dublin City University (DCU). The trial, which will take place between DCU campuses once legislation permits, aims to set the bar for electric scooter safety standards in Ireland and around the world. It comes as steps are taken to make electric scooters legal across Ireland.
Launched by Minister Hildegarde Naughton, the Electric Scooter Research Pilot is a collaboration between electric scooter operator TIER; the Irish micromobility technology platform Luna; the Insight SFI Research Center For Data Analytics and Smart DCU (a district of Smart Dublin).
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As part of the project, TIER and Luna are equipping a fleet of 30 scooters with advanced computer vision technology, allowing DCU-based Insight researchers to explore a rich new source of smart city data. With Luna technology, TIER electric scooters can perform pedestrian detection and lane segmentation algorithms, allowing vehicles to understand how many people are in their path, while preventing vehicles from being used on sidewalks.
In addition to being a first academic-industry research project focusing on computer vision in electric scooters, the pilot project is also the first major structured trial of electric scooters in Ireland. The aim of the research project is to simultaneously improve the safety of electric scooters and explore the smart city possibilities associated with micromobility vehicles equipped with computer vision and the valuable data they can generate.
Vision data generated by the fleet will be analyzed by Insight researchers, with a view to identifying smart city use cases and applications of value to local authorities, in line with Smart Dublin’s mission. The first use case will be the development of an AI model that will provide cities with real-time alerts on blocked trails – whether the blockage is the result of an overturned scooter, improperly parked car, or ‘a fallen tree or other obstacle.
Separately, TIER and DCU will monitor the modal shift model from cars to electric scooters among DCU users, with a focus on reducing the university’s transportation-related emissions. TIER will also explore the impact of its Power gridinnovation, in terms of increased attendance at local points of sale. TIER’s unique model allows users to trade in depleted electric scooter batteries – in exchange for free travel – at charging stations hosted at local outlets. Pilot data from the energy grid in Finland shows that the average convenience store receives an average of € 18,000 (US $ 21,000) in additional income from TIER users coming in to change batteries.
The pilot, which will run until early 2022, will also explore other information, particularly on user behaviors and attitudes, which can fuel any commercial shared electric scooter program that may be launched in Dublin and elsewhere. in Ireland in the future.
“Ireland is really leading the way in the electric scooter space and I can’t wait to see this rider take to the DCU campuses,” TD Minister Hildegarde Naughton said at the launch. “It is an interesting and exciting time in transportation – the innovation and momentum are palpable. It is my job now and the job of the government to play our part and advance the legislation necessary for the safe use of electric scooters in Ireland. I look forward to seeing this pilot project progress on campus and I am particularly interested in hearing more about its results and ideas, which I am sure will keep us informed on the evolution of legislation in this space.