Bird Claims It’s Found a Clever Way to Prevent Sidewalk Riding on Its E-Scooters


One of the biggest complaints related to riding electric scooters in the city is the fact that they’re everywhere, even in places where they don’t belong. Bird found a clever way to prevent riders from riding the wheelers on sidewalks.

Stopping riders from using the e-scooters on sidewalks entails a lot of work, from accurately locating the moving vehicles to taking precise sidewalk measurements, and taking immediate action on a large scale. Bird thinks it’s found an easier solution.

The California-based e-scooter rental service partnered with Swiss company u-blox, which specializes in developing chips and modules for wireless communication and positioning. The two have come up with a Smart Sidewalk Protection system, which Bird boasts of being the world’s first end-to-end, high-precision positioning solution designed specifically for micro-mobility use. This technology can deliver centimeter-level accuracy.

Using a module called u-blox ZED-F9R, Bird can accurately monitor e-scooters and find out if they are on the sidewalk or are being operated in an unsafe way. The module is able to process real-time vehicle data such as the scooter’s wheel speed, its spatial orientation, and more.

A lot of techy explanations are offered by the two companies regarding the way this hyper-accurate module works, but the bottom line is the device can identify people who ride the e-scooter on sidewalks. Bird then proceeds to send audio alerts and mobile notifications. The e-scooter is also safely brought to a stop.

The new technology is integrated into Bird’s new scooters, with the company considering this to be a better alternative to externally mounted cameras for instance. With the Smart Sidewalk Protection integrated into the vehicle, the risk of damaging it due to weather conditions or vandalism is reduced to a minimum.

One of the biggest advantages of the Bird & u-blox system is the fact that it’s considerably more reliable than traditional GPS receivers that can only deliver meter level accuracy, as suppose to this technology which offers centimeter-level precise GNSS positioning.