Voi is a Swedish micro-mobility company offering electric scooter sharing in partnership with cities and local communities.
In a latest development, Voi is partnering with Irish micro-mobility startup Luna to provide world-first computer vision for e-scooters. Founded in Dublin in 2019, Luna provides Smart City solutions to better manage deployment and operation of shared micro-mobility fleets.
With AI and computer vision technology integration, Voi becomes the first scooter operator in the world to offer real-time pedestrian detection, similar to that available in high-end cars.
High-end camera sensor and an AI algorithm
The technology is based on high-end camera sensors and Edge AI algorithms. It offers pedestrian detection so that an e-scooter can understand if it is in a heavily pedestrianised area and reduce its speed. It will also equip e-scooters to detect the kind of surface or lane they are riding on (bike lane, pavement, road), and respond with appropriate measures.
On top of that, Luna will also provide precise positioning technology to all the Voi scooters so that it can control parking to centimeter-level accuracy in designated areas.
Since launching two years ago in Stockholm, Voi has achieved over 30 million rides across Europe and is now operating in some of the continent’s biggest cities including Berlin, Stockholm, Birmingham, Milan and Marseille. In September, the operator was appointed by Northamptonshire County Council as sole e-scooter operator in the county. In the same month, Voi was also selected to provide e-scooters in the West Midlands in what is to date Europe’s largest ever e-scooter contract award.
Fredrik Hjelm, co-founder, and CEO of Voi Technology said: “We are embracing pioneering technology like this so that we can help shape cities for living, and to ensure that municipal authorities feel confident in including e-scooters as part of their smart city strategies. Having facilitated more than 30 million rides to date we understand deeply the issues involved in e-scooter safety. We believe in educating riders, but also in providing them with the kind of technology that supports them to use e-scooters responsibly. We are very proud to be the first e-scooter operator to incorporate the computer vision technology for the benefit of our riders, pedestrians, and authorities.”
Trials start in Northampton, UK
The trials of the new technology commence in Northampton, UK, this week, focusing on pedestrian detection. The first phase will see the local Voi operations team to use Luna’s technology to enable scooters to learn about their environment. Once this phase is complete, Luna’s technology will be integrated into Voi’s e-scooters for public use in the city.
Andrew Fleury, co-founder & CEO, Luna: “As shared e-scooters continue to be rolled out in cities across the world, they need to become smarter and safer – for the benefit of riders, pedestrians and cities. With this trial, we look forward in particular to exploring how computer vision-equipped e-scooters can improve the experience for riders, pedestrians, vulnerable road users, the Voi operations team, as well as local authorities themselves. The onus to date has been on pedestrians to detect, avoid, and navigate around scooters. Luna’s smart scooter technology flips that around and allows operators and cities to govern their fleets better and avoid these conflicts, to begin with.”
It’s worth mentioning that Northampton’s e-scooter trial is part of a UK wide government-led initiative to introduce e-scooters to the public as an innovative, safe, carbon-neutral, and socially distanced mode of transport.