E-scooters to deliver new smart city data in Dublin

19th April 2021 Christopher Carey

Dublin City University (DCU) is set to launch a shared e-scooter scheme to monitor how artificial intelligence (AI)  and computer vision technology can improve safety and provide a new source of data for smart city use cases.

The trial, which will last six months, will be carried out by Smart DCU with micromobility technology firm Luna, e-scooter operator TIER and Insight, the Irish research centre for data analytics.

“This research project will help shape the future regarding the safety and municipal value of electric scooters, not just in Dublin and Ireland, but globally,” said Andrew Fleury, Co-Founder & CEO, Luna.

“The project will also enable the further development of Dublin as a ‘smart city’ and strengthen Luna’s position as a key technology provider in the governance and control of shared electric scooter schemes into the future.”

Equipped with the Luna technology, the 30 TIER scooters will be capable of running pedestrian detection and lane segmentation algorithms, allowing the vehicles to understand how many people are in their path, as well as whether they are on the road, a cycle lane, or footpath.

Potential use cases that may be prototyped during the pilot include traffic congestion alerts, road condition monitoring, street infrastructure mapping, kerbside management applications, as well as heat mapping of footpath riding incidents as an indicator of problematic junctions or inadequate cycling infrastructure.

The Dublin pilot will run over six months, and be restricted to the university’s grounds and its 18,000 students and almost 2,000 staff.

Legislative change

The project marks Ireland’s first major structured e-scooter trial as the country moves to legalise e-scooters.

In February, the Irish Government approved plans to draft legislation that will see the devices regulated on roads.

Ahead of this expected legislative change, several micromobility players have already announced plans for the Irish market.

Irish micromobility companies Zeus, Zipp and Bleeper are set to launch once legislation is passed, while Dutch e-scooter firm Dott and Estonian outfit Bolt are also hoping to expand to Ireland.

Taxi app Free Now also aims to make micromobility vehicles available through its app in partnership with TIER, and Bird announced plans to invest US$150 million (£108 million) to expand in more than 50 European locations, including Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Galway.

Image: TIER

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