Ford’s AI to boost electric scooter culture

You may have already experienced the aggressive driving style of popular electric scooters. On the sidewalk, the last thing you expect is that there will be unexpected cropping, honking or rushing towards you, as if you were an empty space. However, this happens quite often, especially in large cities like Moscow, New York, London. And this causes understandable discontent.

To enhance the culture of electric scooter driving, identify the most popular routes and be able to monitor which owner / user of electric scooters regularly breaks the rules, a division of Ford, as part of a partnership with Drover AI, is implementing PathPilot technology in the next generation Insight electric scooter monitoring platform.

Spin Insight Level 2 technology is capable of detecting dangerous scooter riding and incorrect parking with up to 95% accuracy. It will be rolled out to select cities in the US and UK in 2021. A little later, it is planned to cover other countries as well. New York will be the first city to test this solution.

What the new technology offers

This model was shown at the presentation
This model was shown at the presentation

Developer Drover AI specializes in artificial intelligence-based Internet of Things (IoT) solutions for last mile transportation. In this context, the last mile means the ability for people to conveniently and quickly get from the metro or public transport to work or home. The PathPilot platform uses machine learning and computer vision to detect sidewalk misuse and parking scooters with manufacturer-declared accuracy levels above 95%.

Similar to Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), which use on-board sensors to help car drivers park, brake and stay in their lane, Spin Insight Level 2 combines the latest sensor and artificial intelligence technologies to enforce regulations and create a safer driving experience and pedestrians.

The new Drover AI hardware mounts directly under the steering wheel. The solution uses cameras and a large number of sensors: visual, inertial, environment and positioning. They will be used for detailed positioning. The goal of the solution is to create an advanced driver assistance system, something like Tesla’s autopilot for scooters.

In addition, the solution allows aggregation on cloud servers the company has accurate information on popular routes, sidewalk and cycle paths, which can be used by city officials to identify potential congestion problems and road damage, and to identify areas that can be improved by infrastructure development.

Several more features are planned to be added in the future. For example, it detects and warns the driver about improper driving, automatically adjusts the speed of the electric scooter based on driving conditions and warns of a possible collision.

Why is it important and who is against

The solution is important because it helps to streamline the movement of small vehicles on busy roads and sidewalks. In the same New York, for example, movement on electric scooters is prohibited in the Manhattan area. The reason is precisely the insecurity of this vehicle. The use of smart scooters, which control the driving style and are able to “talk” to the offender, allows you to solve this problem.

You can also use the data accumulating in the cloud to find a new route for the movement of people from point A to point B in order to unload existing traffic routes. It can be a sidewalk, bike path, street. We have already talked about the quality of the road surface, the congestion of the streets and other factors affecting the speed of movement and the choice of the route. These are also important factors.

However, a number of experts have expressed concerns about the introduction of overly smart devices that can spy on the owners. For example, a regularly monitored route from a bar home can lead to a check or immediately accuse a person of drunk driving. Likewise, the right to privacy is violated if, after (or instead of) work, one of the spouses does not go to his home, but to someone else’s home.

Of the more serious arguments, we can mention the danger of blocking law enforcement agencies with automatically generated notifications about minor violations of electric scooter owners. Entering the road in the wrong place, dangerous maneuvering, speeding – the system will accurately collect all this data. Unless the owner “finalizes” it in his garage. But since the location of the scooters from Spin is tracked, it will not work just to drag a couple of them to you for experiments.

When to wait for AI scooters

Note that in the case of Spin, we are talking about an electric scooter rental model. The company hopes that the technology it offers will enable it to obtain a permit to operate electric scooters in New York. Whether these expectations will come true will become known very soon, in the spring of 2021.

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