Bird Scooters Will Now Annoy Riders Into Getting Off the Damn Sidewalk

Bird Scooters Want To Annoy Its Worst Riders

Bird explained the nuts and bolts behind this new sidewalk-tracking tech—which is officially named “ZED-F9R”, and was developed alongside a Swiss company called “u-blox”—on its own blog. In a nutshell, these trackers come bundled in a GNSS receiver (essentially a souped-up GPS) that processes data from the scooter it’s attached to, including the scoot’s acceleration, spatial orientation, and wheel speed. These get compared against a pre-determined geofence outline of a particular city that gets constructed from satellite imagery, or cite-sourced geographic data.

The end result, Bird promises, is a sidewalk-detecting scooter system that’s sleek and precise—unlike some of the other solutions we’ve seen pitched by its e-scooter computers. Last month, the Swedish mobility startup Voi announced it would start strapping smart cameras equipped to “see and recognize situations that are hazardous” to the front of scooters in its fleet in an attempt to cut down on local e-scooter injuries. The Ford-owned e-scooter operator Spin, meanwhile, announced plans last year to add a slew of cameras and sensor arrays to its vehicles to cut down on bad driver behavior.

We still can’t say for sure whether Bird’s cameraless approach is the better bet; the company has only just started piloting their “micromobility module” on scooters in Milwaukee and San Diego. Bird also noted that it has plans for “a broader rollout” in 2022, which includes a debut for riders in Madrid.


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