Safety for e-scooters and pedestrians

Boomers or their parents may have fond memories of the kick scooters they rode on when they were kids. In those days, nobody could imagine adults using them as a means of urban transportation

e-scooters for urban transport
e-scooters have become so popular that they can now be rented in cities all over the world

The foldable scooter

In the mid-1990s a Swiss by the name of Wim Ouboter invented the foldable aluminium scooter with inline-skate wheels and soon many young professionals rode scooters to work. The fad rapidly spread to the whole of Europe and the rest of the world.

As time went by, the micro scooter range evolved to include three- and four-wheel models for adults and kids. As fads go, in the following years, they became less popular. They didn’t disappear completely and made a comeback recently, when electric versions of the micro vehicle were launched. The COVID-19 pandemic has helped revive their popularity – whether push or electric – as people have become reluctant to use public transportation.

Scooter-riding risks

Riding a scooter is not without risks. First, the type of surface is important: dry and even is ideal but many urban roads and pavements have puddles, cracks in the asphalt, speed bumps and cobblestones, which make life harder for riders of all ages. Anything that causes the front wheel to stop is a safety threat.

Speed control is also essential, especially with electric scooters. On roads, they have little protection against cars and on the pavement, they must zigzag to avoid pedestrians. More often than not, the task of detecting, avoiding and navigating around the scooter is left to pedestrians, leaving both parties unhappy.

Technology to the rescue

This may soon change for the better. According to SmartCitiesWorld, “European e-scooter operator Voi Technology is partnering with micromobility start-up Luna to integrate computer vision for e-scooters, enabling them to sense their environment and react accordingly. […] Voi claims it is the first operator to offer real-time pedestrian detection, similar to the technology available in cars. […] Scooters will also be able to detect the kind of surface or lane they are riding on.”

The technology relies on high-end camera sensors and edge artificial intelligence algorithms.

As with any advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS), the drive behind the development of these technological advances is to increase safety and help scooter riders avoid accidents with pedestrians, bicycles and automotive vehicles.

All sensors, including camera, have to be accurate and reliable. Whatever they measure, it must be extremely precise. A defective sensor could put human lives in jeopardy.

Relying on the electronic component supply chain

Sensor manufacturers and suppliers all over the world have a powerful tool at their disposal, enabling their products to meet the strictest requirements: IECQ testing and certification. IECQ is the IEC Quality Assessment System for Electronic Components.

As the worldwide approval and certification system covering the supply of electronic components, assemblies and associated materials and processes, IECQ tests and certifies components using quality assessment specifications based on IEC International Standards.

In addition, there are a multitude of related materials and processes that are covered by the IECQ Schemes. IECQ certificates are used as a tool to monitor and control the manufacturing supply chain. They help to reduce costs and time to market, as well as eliminate the need for multiple re-assessments of suppliers. 

Safety on the roads and pavements will increasingly depend on detection systems and always on the quality of the sensors used.