20 Jul 21

Ireland’s first e-Scooter trial starts at Dublin University

eScooter provider TIER collaborates with industry partners in Ireland

Ireland’s first e-scooter trial has launched across the five campuses of Dublin City University. The initiative is also the world's first academic-industry computer vision research partnership.

Launched by Minister of State Hildegarde Naughton, the e-scooter research pilot project will involve the collaboration of four organisations: Europe’s leading e-scooter operator TIER; Irish micromobility tech platform Luna; the Insight SFI Research Centre For Data Analytics; and Smart DCU (a district of Smart Dublin). It will also play a role in making e-scooters street-legal across Ireland. 

Progressing legislation required for safe eScooter use

Speaking at the launch, Minister of State Hildegarde Naughton TD, said: “Ireland is truly leading the way in the use of e-scooters and I very much look forward to seeing this pilot get moving across DCU campuses. This is an interesting and exciting time in transport – the innovation and momentum is palpable here today. It is my job now and the job of Government to play our part and progress the necessary legislation required for the safe use of e-scooters in Ireland.”

The trial, which has commenced on campuses, will operate between campuses once legislation allows and it aims to set the bar for e-scooter safety standards in Ireland and across the world.

Generating a new source of smart city data

As part of the project, TIER and Luna are equipping a fleet of 30 scooters with advanced computer vision technology, allowing DCU-based Insight researchers to explore a rich new source of smart city data. With the Luna technology, TIER e-scooters are capable of running pedestrian detection and lane segmentation algorithms, allowing the vehicles to understand how many people are in their path, as well as preventing vehicles from being used on footpaths.

In addition, the project will explore the Smart City possibilities associated with computer vision equipped micromobility vehicles and the valuable data they can generate on behalf of all stakeholders. 

Separately TIER and DCU will monitor the modal shift pattern from cars to e-scooters across DCU users, with a focus on reducing the University’s transport-related emissions. TIER will also explore the impact of its ‘Energy Network’ innovation in terms of driving footfall to local retail outlets as part of cities post-Covid economic recovery. TIER’s unique model allows users to swap depleted e-scooter batteries - in return for free travel - at charging stations hosted in local retail outlets. Pilot data from the Energy Network in Finland reveals the average convenience store enjoys an average of €18,000 additional income as a result of TIER users entering to switch batteries.

Image of TIER's app, courtesty of Shutterstock.

Authored by: Alison Pittaway