E-scooter mobility giant Tier has announced it will launch a first of its kind AI technology in the UK, which aims to improve the safety and sustainability of its e-scooters and reduce costs.
The system, described as a ‘Parrot’ e-scooter brain, is capable of recognising “anti-social riding behaviours” without requiring the use of complex and fragile cameras or computer vision.
Parrot can detect where and how a Tier e-scooter is being ridden, based on data from on-board sensors which are analysed by AI, and then boot out unsafe riders.
The announcement comes following the acquisition of the US computer-vision tech firm Fantasmo last year, who helped role out the technology.
Fantasmo’s purchase was a part of the e-mobility group’s plans to utilise new technologies to tackle challenges facing the sector, particularly safety risks, which have come under intense scrutiny over the last year.
Tier says that the AI system will also reduce costs, by decreasing expenses on third-party camera systems – which currently cost around $500 (£403.04) per scooter over five years – and increasing the life-span of its scooters.
It currently anticipates the usable life of its UK e-scooter fleet will double as a result of the technology, as the old IoT module was the one of the key factors in limiting its e-scooters longevity.
Lawrence Leuschner, co-founder and CEO of Tier, said: “Tier was founded to offer people a sustainable travel alternative to driving in towns and cities. Anything we can do to increase the working life of our vehicles further reduces the carbon cost of making the vehicle in the first place, improving the overall sustainability of our service.
“To be able to do that while also creating a platform for us to make our service better for the user, and safer for the public is a rare case of an innovation with no downsides.”
Nuno Simaria, TIER’s CTO, told City A.M. that “with our Parrot module we are making a saving on two-fronts, hardware and operations. To add a third-party camera-based pavement riding detection solution to our existing fleet would cost from around $500 per scooter over five years.”
“Developing a camera-based solution in-house reduces the initial upfront cost, however either way, maintaining a fleet of camera-equipped e-scooters is time and labour intensive.”
The Parrot module is currently being piloted in London, and will be fitted to the entire UK fleet of e-scooters this summer.
E-scooter companies have come under increasing pressure in the last few months, over safety risks posed by fires and unsafe drivers. In December, a survey commissioned by the Department for Transport (DfT) reported that 93 per cent of respondents had seen at least one form of anti-social behaviour by users of rental or private e-scooters.