This week, escooter company Bird launched the latest technology to stop bad driving. The Bird VPS (Visual Parking System) was shown on stage at Google I/O, demonstrating the latest technology to monitor e-scooter parking.
The tool is powered by Google’s ARCore Geospatial API, which allows Bird to geo-locate parked scooters with pinpoint accuracy. This is being achieved by taking advantage of the tech giant’s years of 3D scanning, global Street View data and augmented reality technology.
Let’s see how it works and what it aims to achieve.
How does Bird VPS work?
When parking a scooter, the app prompts a rider to quickly scan the QR code on the vehicle and its surroundings using their smartphone camera.
Bird VPS then compares the rider’s images in real time with Google data and Street View images.
According to Bird, this results in centimeter-level geolocation, allowing the system to detect and prevent inappropriate parking with extreme accuracy – while helping to track user behavior.
Bird VPS is either already being tested – or will be rolled out immediately – in several cities, including New York City and Madrid.
Tech is the weapon of choice against bad drivers
Bird isn’t the only company using technology to make sure its riders follow the rules. super pedestrian (LINK escooters) developed software to detect and protect against more than 100 common failures and detect dangerous behavior – such as driving on the sidewalk, driving in the wrong direction on a one-way street, or aggressively swerving.
The software can autonomously slow down and stop rides, and warn riders of rule violations.
Bird is also tackling the problem of drunk driving and testing an in-app checkpoint called Safe Start in the US. Between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. local time, riders attempting to unlock a Bird will be prompted to verify that they can safely drive the vehicle by correctly entering a keyword into the app.
Those who may be intoxicated are encouraged to choose an alternative mode of transportation such as a cab or taxi service.
The reality is that idiots are everywhere. But when the idiots ride scooters, their behavior is often reinforced, pointing the finger at micro-mobility companies.
This morning a friend sent me this photo of someone riding an e-scooter on an underground train platform.
But e-scooter rental companies are working very hard in a highly competitive market to build good relationships with the cities they serve and to encourage riders to abide by local laws.
The Bird VPS technology will be a valuable part of its arsenal the next time it bids on a city contract. Much remains to be done to make micro-mobility a functioning part of urban areas – and it’s great to see intriguing initiatives like this moving the sector forward