Ireland is testing the waters ahead of the expected legalisation of e-scooters later this year with a six month research trial at Dublin City University (DCU).
Tier is providing a fleet of 30 e-scooters and will be working alongside Irish micromobility tech platform Luna; the Insight SFI Research Centre For Data Analytics; and Smart DCU (a district of Smart Dublin).
The trial will use artificial intelligence (AI) to help track data on areas like safety for all the scooters used between various DCU campuses.
The scooter fleet is fitted with Luna technology that makes the Tier scooters capable of running pedestrian detection and lane segmentation algorithms.
This allows the scooters to understand how many people are in their path, as well as whether they are on the road, a cycle lane, or footpath.
It is envisaged that some of the use cases that could be prototyped during the pilot, include traffic congestion alerts, road condition monitoring, street infrastructure mapping and kerbside management applications.
The trial will also show heat mapping of footpath riding incidents as an indicator of problematic junctions or inadequate cycling infrastructure.
Tier and DCU will also be monitoring the modal shift pattern from cars to scooters across DCU users, with a focus on reducing the university’s transport-related emissions.
Dr Declan Raftery, Dublin City University chief operating officer, said: “We are genuinely curious to understand how e-scooters can help drive modal shift across our community of 18,000 students and almost 2,000 staff.
“We want to work with Dublin and Ireland stakeholders to disseminate all useful learnings from the pilot, as we prepare for a return to campus and a wider return to work in a post-Covid world.”
Insights will feed into future e-scooter schemes in Ireland
As part of the pilot project, the research teams will look at other insights particularly around user behaviours and attitudes, which can feed into any commercial shared e-scooter schemes that may be launched in Dublin and elsewhere across Ireland in the future.
The Irish government has already approved draft legislation that could see various new shared e-scooter and e-bike schemes launched in towns and cities across the country before the end of 2021.
Ireland is proposing to create a new vehicle category which will be known as ‘Powered Personal Transporters’ (PPTs) and will include e-scooters.
The proposed legislation will allow e-scooters to be used legally in a public place and will also address standards to be met by PPTs in the interests of safety.
A statement from the Irish government said: ” Tax, insurance and driving licenses will not be required.
“As the intention is to legalise the use of PPTs in a public place, they will now be regulated as to how and where they may be used.