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Bird Scooters has unveiled new technology designed to detect when riders are using sidewalks and pavements and bring them to a halt.

Bird e-scooters, of course, are designed to be ridden in the road with cars and e-bikes, rather than with pedestrians. The new tech, called Smart Sidewalk Protection has been in the works since 2019.

Preventing sidewalk riding, according to Bird, relies on:

“Hyper-accurate locations of moving vehicles, precise sidewalk measurements, immediate enforcement,” and “scalability.”

The achieve this, Bird partnered with u-blox, a Swiss tech company with “industry-leading experience in wireless communication and positioning technology.”

Using GNSS receivers, real-time vehicle data, IMU sensor data, and real-time kinematic data, Bird is promising “a centimetre level precise system that’s far more accurate than traditional GPS receivers that deliver meter level accuracies, powered by a module that can easily be built into our vehicles and doesn’t require additional external hardware.”

“We are very excited about this collaboration between u-blox and Bird,” says Alex Ngi, Product Manager Positioning at u-blox. “Our centimetre-level precise GNSS positioning technology will now be implemented in the expanding micromobility industry, strengthening our contribution to a safer and more ecological world.”

If the scooter detects that a rider is on the pavement, it will quickly, but gently, bring the rider to a halt.

The micromobility module is currently being piloted in Milwaukee and San Diego. Madrid will be the first pilot city in EMEA, with plans for a broader rollout slated for 2022.

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