Pedestrian Defense tech puts the brakes on unsafe e-scooter usage
It would not be an understatement to say that some users of e-scooter sharing services ride rather irresponsibly. A new system, however, detects improper scooter usage and responds by warning the rider or even stopping the scooter if necessary.
Known as Pedestrian Defense, the system is being integrated into the Link shared electric scooter, manufactured by Massachusetts-based MIT spin-off company Superpedestrian. Some readers will already know the latter for its Copenhagen Wheel, which converts regular bicycles into ebikes.
Pedestrian Defense incorporates Super Fusion technology, which was developed by California-based mobility company Navmatic. Last month, Navmatic was acquired by Superpedestrian.
Although details regarding how the system works are scant, Super Fusion is described as combining raw GPS data with scooter sensor "dynamic ride data" such as speed and orientation. An onboard microprocessor uses machine-learning-based algorithms to analyze all of that information in real time, determining exactly where the scooter is on the street, and how it's being used.
As a result, the scooter is automatically slowed or stopped if the user is riding on the sidewalk, going the wrong way down a one-way street, aggressively swerving or repeatedly engaging in hard braking. They are also alerted via flashing lights and audible alarms on the scooter itself, plus they receive notifications (and a post-ride report) on their smartphone.
Users who consistently ride safely will be rewarded with discounts on future scooter rentals, whereas those who continue to pose a hazard will be banned from using the sharing service.
And yes, the system will reportedly also warn riders if they park someplace inappropriate, such as if they're blocking a driveway. Additionally, it can be set up to communicate with city officials, alerting them to locations where scooter users frequently break the rules.
Pedestrian Defense is described further in the video below.