Launched by Minister Hildegarde Naughton, this e-scooter research pilot project will involve the collaboration of four organisations: e-scooter operator TIER; Irish micromobility tech platform Luna; the Insight SFI Research Centre For Data Analytics; and Smart DCU (a district of Smart Dublin).
The trial will run in parallel with moves to make e-scooters street-legal across Ireland. As part of the project, TIER and Luna are equipping a fleet of 30 scooters with advanced computer vision technology, allowing DCU-based Insight researchers to explore smart city data. With the Luna technology, TIER e-scooters are capable of running pedestrian detection and lane segmentation algorithms, allowing the vehicles to understand how many people are in their path, as well as preventing vehicles from being used on footpaths.
In addition to being an academic-industry research project focused on computer vision in e-scooters, the pilot is also Ireland’s first major structured e-scooter trial. The purpose of the research project is to simultaneously improve e-scooter safety and to explore the Smart City possibilities associated with computer vision equipped micromobility vehicles and the valuable data they can generate on behalf of all stakeholders.
The vision data generated by the fleet will be analysed by DCU-based Insight researchers, with a view to identifying smart city use cases and applications of value to local authorities, in line with the mission of Smart Dublin. The first such use case will be the development of an AI model that can alert cities in realtime to blocked footpaths – whether the blockage is the result of a tipped over scooter, a badly parked car, a fallen tree, or another impediment.
Separately TIER and DCU will monitor the modal shift pattern from cars to e-scooters across DCU users, with a focus on reducing the University’s transport-related emissions. TIER will also explore the impact of its ‘Energy Network’ innovation in terms of driving footfall to local retail outlets as part of cities post-Covid economic recovery.
The pilot project, which launched today and will run until early 2022, will also explore other insights, particularly around user behaviours and attitudes, which can feed into any commercial shared e-scooter schemes that may be launched in Dublin and elsewhere across Ireland in the future.
Speaking at the launch of this world-first industry-academic collaboration, Minister Hildegarde Naughton TD, said:
“Ireland is truly leading the way in the space of the use of e-scooters and I very much look forward to seeing this pilot get moving across DCU campuses. This is an interesting and exciting time in transport – the innovation and momentum is palpable here today.
“It is my job now and the job of Government to play our part and progress the necessary legislation required for the safe use of e-scooters in Ireland. I look forward to seeing this pilot progress across campus and I am particularly interested in learning of its outcomes and insights which I am certain will inform us in further progressing legislation in this space.”