An e-scooter research project has begun on five Dublin City University (DCU) campuses to set new safety standards to make vehicles legal on Irish roads. As part of the project, e-scooter operator Tier will work with Irish micromobility technology platform Luna, Insight SFI Research Center for Data Analytics and Smart DCU to monitor how Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Computer Vision keep drivers safe and pedestrians can improve.
The plans for the project were announced in April, but it wasn’t officially launched until Tuesday.
As part of the project, 30 tier e-scooters will be equipped with Luna’s computer vision technology and AI models to provide data on pedestrian avoidance and lane detection and to enable preventive measures when using footpaths. The scooters will also be used to study the Tier Energy Network’s battery swap scheme and the impact it has on commuting behavior among DCU students and staff.
Initially, the scooters will be used on campus, but as soon as the legislation allows, the test will also be carried out between them.
“Ireland is a real leader in the use of e-scooters and I am really looking forward to seeing this pilot project implemented on the DCU site,” said Hildegarde Naughton, Secretary of State for the Department of Transportation.
“This is an interesting and exciting time in transport – the innovation and dynamism can be felt here today. It is now my job and the government’s job to do our part in promoting the necessary legislation for the safe use of e-scooters in Ireland. “
The republic lags behind most European countries when it comes to public approval of e-scooters.
The project will also provide Insight researchers with smart city data that can be used in developing an AI model to alert city authorities to obstacles on footpaths such as scooters, cars or fallen trees.
The e-scooter pilot will run until early next year and could provide valuable data for scooter sharing programs across the state.
“This is such an important animal research pilot in Ireland and we are delighted to have launched this study across the five campuses of Dublin City University,” said Fred Jones, Tiers Regional General Manager for Northern Europe.
“It’s an exciting opportunity for in-depth research into smart city applications of e-scooters and a modal shift as we’re partnering with Luna and Insight to help the university reduce its carbon footprint and create a more sustainable, safer first- and solution for local public transport on the last mile. We hope to be able to apply all of the findings from the project to future animal operations in Ireland. “
Luna has developed a technology that ensures that e-scooters can “feel” pedestrians and recognize different road surfaces. It can also pinpoint exactly where e-scooters are and whether they are safely parked.
“Cities and towns everywhere are looking for smart technology to solve some of the operational challenges that are holding the scooter industry from realizing its potential,” said Andrew Fleury, Co-Founder and CEO of Luna. “The fact that this technology also has the ability to convert scooter fleets into mobile sensor networks and thus support the city in several areas, from road condition monitoring to mapping the road infrastructure, is very exciting for everyone involved in the project.”