Why is this important: Electric scooters have become commonplace in many cities around the world, but with them comes the annoyance and danger of people riding them on sidewalks. The Bird shared rental service, however, found a solution that could solve the problem.
Bird has teamed up with a Swiss-born company called U-blox to create an end-to-end GPS system “designed to provide centimeter accuracy specifically for the micromobility industry.” He notes that GPS data in cities may be inaccurate due to signal interference from tall buildings, also known as the “city canyon effect,” but working with U-blox, the pair developed a multi-sensor and GPS module. personalized which offers much more precision. than traditional solutions.
Anyone riding one of the scooters with the new technology will hear audio alerts if they step onto a sidewalk, in addition to receiving notifications on their phone, warning them to return to the street. If this is ignored, the scooter will slow down and stop gradually.
The system is based on a single version of U-blox’s ZED-F9R module, a dual-band multi-constellation GNSS receiver that supports up to eight times more satellite signal types and four times more constellations (GPS , Galileo, GLONASS and BeiDou) than standard solutions. It is capable of processing real-time vehicle data including wheel speed, IMU sensor data including acceleration and spatial orientation, and real-time kinematic data that corrects for ionospheric interference.
Bird explained step by step how his sidewalk mapping works down to the centimeter:
Step 1: It starts with a geographic fence outline built from satellite images or GIS data of the city.
Step 2: From there, we use surveying equipment to measure the location of three city landmarks. Only a few measurements are needed for each city.
Step 3: Once the landmarks are identified, we compare their location to satellite imagery to determine offsets and rotations.
Step 4: We then use these offsets and rotation values to offset and transform each of our original geographic fence contours.
Step 5: Finally, once our geofence outlines have been updated, they are preloaded on our vehicles to eliminate latency.
The Smart Sidewalk Protection system is currently being tested in Milwaukee and San Diego, with Madrid set to be the first city in Europe to receive the new scooters. Bird says he plans a wider deployment in 2022.
Bird had previously tried using AI-powered cameras mounted on scooters to detect curbside drivers, but these expensive devices were prone to vandalism and weather, unlike the GPS system.
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