Nottingham is set to become the first city to trial the use of Artificial Intelligence technology in order to slow down or stop E-scooters that are being driven dangerously. The “Pedestrian Defence Technology” will be trialled in Nottingham before being rolled out to the 25 other cities that use Link E-Scooters.
Superpedestrian, the company behind the scooters, has been given a £125 million pound investment from Jefferies, Antara Capital, and the Sonny Innovation Fund, as well as existing backers Sark Capital, General Catalyst and Citi, to develop this technology. The new AI technology is called “Super Fusion” and it combines GPS, ride data, speed, and orientation as well as machine learning to detect unsafe behaviour, such as driving the wrong way down a one way street, swerving in front of pedestrians or riding on the pavement.
According to the National Statistics “E-scooters are one of the most vulnerable user groups” and in 2020 there were 460 accidents involving E-scooters. These accidents lead to 484 casualties, but only one death. The most common casualties were the 384 E-scooter users, while the main other road users involved were pedestrians or cyclists. It is hoped that the new technology will reduce the number of accidents by preventing dangerous driving. The AI will precisely monitor the user’s location to detect when the scooter is being used unsafely. Users will also receive specific feedback and a rating at the end of their journey to encourage safer usage in the future.
One student said that “the inclusion of electric scooters to traverse the large campus is by all accounts useful to students and visitors alike. However, in a growing climate of automation and AI integrations, the technology behind automated driving isn’t developed enough for me to feel comfortable with the new technology.” Other students were also concerned about the safety of the new technology, stating that although it “sounds like a good idea to improve safety, it could be dangerous if the scooter stops suddenly.”
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