Swedish micro-mobility company Voi Technology, in collaboration with DroverAI and the City of Helsinki, is launching a groundbreaking research project to enhance road safety and promote proper use of electric scooters. The three-month trial began in July 2023, during which Voi equipped a fleet of 25 individual e-scooters with the PathPilot application.
PathPilot uses advanced AI and computer vision technology to mitigate traffic offenses and address improper parking of e-scooters. By analysing the location and movement of e-scooters, the app notifies riders with a ringing warning sound and automatically reduces their speed if they are riding or parking in prohibited areas. PathPilot helps users adhere to local traffic regulations by distinguishing between bicycle lanes and pavements.
“There are two reasons for the trial,” said Hannu Oskala, Head of Public Affairs at Voi. “The first purpose is to find those places where scooter riders are riding in the wrong place, and Voi hopes that the sound signal will guide users of the scooters to choose the correct lane.”
In addition to promoting road safety, Voi’s project will gather valuable data on user behaviour and assess the suitability of the technology for the traffic environment in Helsinki. The collected data will help optimise the locations for e-scooters and improve urban mobility.
“We will receive interesting data about where electric scooters are being used and in which areas traffic rules are not being followed. With the help of this data, we can also find out the condition of the city’s infrastructure and what needs to be improved,” says Juho Kostiainen, Project Manager at the City of Helsinki’s Economic Development Division.
Voi has previously conducted successful trials of AI-guided e-scooters in both Northampton, UK in 2021 and Oslo, Norway in 2022. According to Voi, the use of AI guidance has proven effective in reducing improper e-scooter use and parking. In both previous trials, DroverAI’s innovative technology has located the scooters more accurately than GPS tracking.
The current research project is being conducted in collaboration with Forum Virium Helsinki and Business Helsinki, divisions of the City of Helsinki dedicated to driving innovation and economic development.
Hannu noted that the high cost of AI applications hinders widespread implementation in Finland. Despite this, Voi remains committed to bringing such innovations to market through a tendering process that allows cities to regulate e-scooter users based on safety standards.
“The safety of urban transportation is of paramount importance to us, and we want electric scooters to be safe for both users and other people in urban spaces,” says Hannu. By promoting the AI technology through collaborative efforts, Voi, DroverAI, and the City of Helsinki are working together to create a safer and more efficient electric scooter ecosystem, ultimately enhancing the overall experience for riders and the community.