Dublin City University is launching a shared scooter scheme that will allow staff, students and companies located on its campuses to get around more easily.
The electric scooters are being made available as part of a research pilot project intended to monitor how artificial intelligence and computer vision can improve safety for both riders and pedestrians. The initiative will also consider how e-scooters could be used to replace other modes of transport.
While the project will be restricted to the university’s grounds and its 18,000 students and almost 2,000 staff, it is hoped the information gathered will be of use more widely, both to scooter scheme operators and to authorities who are weighing up the introduction of them on public roads.
As part of the pilot project, e-scooter operator Tier will provide 30 smart micromobiliy devices that include technology developed by DCU-based start-up Luna Systems.
Luna has come up with technology that ensures e-scooters can “sense” pedestrians and recognise different road surfaces. It can also ensure with pinpoint accuracy where e-scooters are and if they are being safely parked.
"This research project will help shape the future regarding the safety and municipal value of electric scooters, not just in Dublin and Ireland, but globally. The project will also enable the further development of Dublin as a 'smart city' and strengthen Luna's position as a key technology provider in the governance and control of shared electric scooter schemes into the future," said Andrew Fleury, chief executive of the company.
Also participating in the project is the Insight SFI Research Centre For Data Analytics and Smart DCU.
The pilot is scheduled to run for a six-month period although it is hoped this will be extended.
Scooter use is permitted on the university’s grounds as they will be restricted to private roads. It is envisaged that once e-scooters are finally legalised, users would be able to commute between the various campuses and beyond.
The Republic is one of the last European countries to permit the use of e-scooters in public. The Government has approved draft legislation to regulate the use of e-scooters on Irish roads, however, which is expected to pass in the coming months.