In the first 25 cities across the US and Europe, Superpedestrian will be deploying 125 million USD to enhance and expand its LINK shared e-scooter service.
Using AI-based software, the scooter’s on-board vehicle intelligence takes real-time action from data collected from multiple sensors.
In addition to accurately predicting the e-scooter’s location, the system can also spot dangerous riding behaviors, such as riding on sidewalks, stunting, swerving aggressively, and saying “salmoning” against traffic. The system will stop or slow the scooter in real time if it detects a danger.
From leading US university MIT, Superpedstrian spun off e-bikes a decade ago, but it’s now best known for its e-scooter rentals, operating in 57 European cities, including three in the UK.
There is a contentious legal situation surrounding electric scooters; privately owned devices are illegal on public roads (although plans have been announced to legalize them), while rental machines are legal.
Many rentals are considered safer because of the regulations they have to follow: tracking and geofencing are often used to monitor rider activity, and e-scooters are also restricted to 15.5 mph.
A company that recently took over Wind Mobility’s UK operations, Superpedestrian, has put a huge emphasis on safety in its new Link scooter, which was recently rolled out in Nottingham.
For Superpedestrian, launching a new fleet of e-scooters presents a number of challenges, but these challenges have been swiftly overcome. The Link scooter itself is not the only reason for this, as is the brand’s approach to renting e-scooters. To learn more about Superpedestrian and its response from the public in Nottingham, Move Electric spoke with Haya Verwoord Douidri, vice president for Europe.
Douidri said the Link e-scooter has been a success since its arrival in late 2021. Despite the scooter only arriving last year, 99,999 trips were made in Nottingham in January of this year, demonstrating the scooter’s popularity.
This scheme has been more successful than any of the firm’s other trials across Europe.
“Even though it takes a lot of work to implement e-scooters in a new city, they are more popular than other schemes in terms of people using them,” says Douidri.
The locals love them and I think Nottingham is a great e-scooter city. Most of the rides we have witnessed have been short trips in the city centre, so it’s great to see the program taking off so well.
The Superpedestrian company has only been operating in Nottingham for a short time, but Douidri noted her own experience of using the Link device in the city centre.
As a result of using the e-scooters to get to each meeting, I realized how convenient it was to get around the city. My impression of Nottingham’s scooter was very positive, as was the Link’s suitability as a means of transportation.
Safety is at the core of Superpedestrian’s hire scheme: not only do they promote helmet wearing but they also assist with the organization of training programs run by Scoot Fit.
Superpedestrian and Scoot Fit’s boss James Rodger offer tips on how to ride the Link e-scooter safely.
According to Douidri, prospective riders have responded positively to the incentives offered alongside the training sessions.
According to Douidri, people really enjoy riding them and James helps them to ride in a safe manner. The idea behind these sessions and incentives is to engage the community and encourage people to try scooters.”
A majority of e-scooters are used by younger generations, according to Doudiri.
Nevertheless, in part due to the training sessions provided by ScootFit, older people were riding Link scooters.
According to Douidri, we have seen a good mix of riders so far, but the majority are young people.
Our e-scooters are available in different demographics, so we just hired a community manager.
Since our e-scooters are for everyone, we’ll organise more training sessions, perhaps focusing on specific demographics.
There is a plan by the UK government to legalize the use of privately owned e-scooters on public roads. The government will legalize the use of private e-scooters as part of a new Transport Bill.
Douidri supported the plans, but stressed the need for safety. The more privately owned e-scooters there are on the road, the better, she said.
E-scooters have a lot of rules and regulations, so rider education is essential. In order to ensure the same rules are followed by private e-scooters, how do you ensure they follow them?
There should be no difference in rules between shared e-scooters and private ones, as this could discourage use of rental devices.
At first glance, Superpedestrian’s Link electric scooter seems like any other road-ready vehicle.
Unlike other bicycles, Superpedestrian lacks a speedometer, so your speed is not measured numerically. While it might seem like a flaw in the design, Douidri says the machines are limited to 15mph for safety reasons.
In order to keep riders focused on the road, we didn’t introduce the speedometer. There is a lot of control over the speed right now. The Link is limited to 15mph and you can feel how fast you’re going.
In slow ride zones, we reduce the maximum speed to 6mph, so the speed is controlled and defined by law. It was just that we didn’t want our riders distracted by looking down and seeing what the actual speed was.”
Later this year, Link will introduce its Pedestrian Defense system across its fleet, although it has not yet been announced in the UK.
Multiple sensors built into the scooter are used to collect data from the Pedestrian Defence system. To help the rider take real-time action, the sensors transmit information to the scooter’s onboard Vehicle Intelligence system.
Besides being able to detect vehicle position more precisely, Superpedestrian’s system can also intervene automatically to slow or stop an e-scooter in real-time based on the riding behavior. According to Douidri, the system is good because it discourages scooter riding on the pavement and protects pedestrians by slowing or stopping them.
With a built-in monitoring system, it protects against battery fires and other dangerous situations, combining scooter safety and pedestrian safety.
Having a system like this in place makes people less reluctant to try them out and accept them by themselves more like a car or bike.