The demand for electric scooters has seen an upward spike in recent years, accentuated by several factors including a desire for an increasing number of persons to embrace green choices by reducing their carbon footprint, the chaotic traffic situation in many cities, and the COVID-19 crisis. These e-scooters, though come with their own challenges on the road, especially collisions with pedestrians, leading to injuries for both the rider and pedestrian.
In response to the sometimes rising incidence of collisions, e-scooter manufacturers are now embracing artificial intelligence (AI) technology to essentially transform the e-scooter into a smart and responsive scooter. A Swedish company called Voi, in collaboration with Luna from the Republic of Ireland, is developing a system of cameras and sensors that uses AI to correctly identify what surface a scooter is riding on, as well as the presence of nearby pedestrians. It then uses the information in real-time to alert the rider or even take some actions to prevent the impending collision. It could slow down the speed, make an audible sound prompt, and so on.
Vio has begun trials of the Luna technology fitted e-scooters in parts of England and the outcome has been quite impressive. The company hopes to scale up the trial process to cover more cities, as it insists that the AI algorithm is capable of being adapted to new cities.
It should be noted that Vio is not the only company developing smart solutions to the problem of e-scooter collisions. However, experts believe that incorporating such technology into the micro-mobility systems as the e-scooters come with their challenges including prohibitive costs that may make the e-bike unaffordable for a huge segment of its present users.
The development of systems to make the e-scooter responsive to threats within its environment remains however a great leap in their development.
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