Bird launches e-scooter ‘smart sidewalk protection’ system

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Micromobility operator Bird has unveiled its ‘smart sidewalk protection’ solution designed to prevent e-scooters being ridden on pavements and footpaths.

Powered by a GPS/GNSS system, from Swiss precision technology company U-Blox, the solution features a sensor-fusion module capable of combining multiple data streams into a single, highly accurate location measurement.

Utilising Bird data, the companies co-developed a unique version of the ZED-F9R module tailored specifically to meet the needs of the shared micromobility industry. The system monitors if the e-scooter is on the pavement and other indications of unsafe operation.

The dual-band multi-constellation GNSS receiver supports up to eight times more satellite signal types and four times more constellations (GPS, Galileo, GLONASS, and BeiDou) than standard solutions, according to the partnership.

The module processes real-time vehicle data including wheel speed, IMU sensor data including acceleration and spatial orientation, and real-time kinematic data that corrects for ionospheric interference. The technology is also optimised for e-scooters by applying dynamic models matching the movements of the vehicles.

If the solution detects riders traveling on a pavement it will send both an audible alert and a mobile notification. The vehicle can also be brought safely and smoothly to a stop by removing throttle.

Alex Ngi, product manager positioning at U-Blox, said: “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.”

The micromobility module is currently being piloted in Milwaukee and San Diego, U.S. Madrid will be the first pilot city in EMEA, with plans for a broader roll out planned for 2022.

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