Bird tests scooters that beep and stop automatically when driving on sidewalks.


Why is it important: Electric scooters have become commonplace in many cities around the world, but with them comes the irritation and danger of people who ride them on the sidewalks. However, the Bird collective rental service has found a solution that could solve this problem.

Byrd partnered with the Swiss company U-blox to create end-to-end GPS system “Designed to provide centimeter-level accuracy specifically for the micromobility industry.” He notes that GPS data in cities may be inaccurate due to signal interference from tall buildings, also called the “urban canyon” effect, but working with U-blox, the pair have developed a dedicated multisensor and GPS module that provides much greater accuracy. … than traditional solutions.

Anyone riding one of the new technology scooters will hear audible alerts if they climb onto the sidewalk, in addition to receiving notifications on their phones warning them to return to the street. If you ignore this, the scooter will slow down and gradually stop.

The system is based on U-blox’s unique version of the ZED-F9R module, a multi-constellation dual-band GNSS receiver that supports up to eight times the satellite signal types and four times the constellations (GPS, Galileo, GLONASS and BeiDou). ) than standard solutions. It can process real-time vehicle data including wheel speed, IMU sensor data including acceleration and attitude, and real-time kinematic data corrected for ionospheric interference.

Bird provided a step-by-step explanation of how his sidewalk map works at centimeter level:

Step 1. It starts with a geofence diagram based on satellite imagery or city GIS data.

Step 2: From here, we use surveying equipment to measure the location of three city landmarks. Only a few measurements are required for each city.

Step 3: After the landmarks have been identified, we compare their location with satellite images to determine displacements and rotations.

Step 4: We then use these offset and rotation values ​​to offset and transform each of our original geofence contours.

Step 5: Finally, after updating our geofence contours, they are preloaded into our cars to eliminate the lag.

Smart Sidewalk Protection is currently being tested in Milwaukee and San Diego, with Madrid becoming the first city in Europe to receive new scooters. Byrd says he plans for wider adoption in 2022.

Bird had previously tried to use artificial intelligence cameras mounted on scooters to detect pedestrians passing on the sidewalk, but these expensive devices were at risk of vandalism and weather, unlike GPS.

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