E-scooter project targets improved safety and less footpath clutter

Ireland Luna and US group JumpWatts team up for Smart DCU e-scooter rental study

Irish scooter technology company Luna has teamed up with JumpWatts, a US business, on a pilot project to improve safety for shared scooters.

It aims to improve operational efficiency of shared electric scooter fleets for riders, pedestrians, operators and cities, while addressing the escalating global problem of e-scooters being left in the wrong place and cluttering footpaths, creating hazards for others.

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.

Los Angeles-based JumpWatts has created a suite of technologies that allows e-scooters to right themselves if tipped over, remotely relocate to a designated parking zone, and be summoned to a specific location.


Self-righting scooters

"We are both working towards similar goals of addressing safety solutions for electric scooters and we believe that together we can accelerate our companies' joint objectives," said Andrew Fleury, co-founder and chief executive of Luna.

“The issue of e-scooter footpath clutter is one that is currently hampering numerous cities and towns across the world. Luna believes that the combined technologies of Luna and JumpWatts will help to address this issue and offer a solution that will be compelling for both operators and cities alike.”

The semi-autonomous fleets will also be able to collect data such as road conditions, crowd analytics and traffic congestion.

“The micromobility space is ripe for innovation that not only improves the bottom line for fleet operators, but also creates a better experience for users and municipalities,” said Arun Gunasekaran, co-founder and chief executive of JumpWatts.

Fleet profitability

“Our vehicle enhancement technology, Virtual Valet, is just that – a way to increase profitability and decrease chaos in the streets.”

He said the technology could be retrofitted to existing scooters or designed into new models, leading to a 95 per cent reduction in pavement nuisances and up to 40 per cent increase in fleet profitability.

The two companies will work at the Smart DCU Campus in Dublin on the project, which combines computer vision and automated vehicle technologies

Luna is also involved in a separate e-scooter research project at DCU designed to set new safety standards. The project will see e-scooter operator Tier collaborate with Luna, the Insight SFI Research Centre for Data Analytics and Smart DCU to monitor how artificial intelligence and computer vision can improve safety for riders and pedestrians.

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien is an Irish Times business and technology journalist