Voi, a shared micromobility startup, is introducing e-scooters in Oslo, Norway, using Drover AI’s computer vision technology to detect if a scooter is on the sidewalk, road, or cycle lane, preventing sidewalk riding. Operators are searching for methods to appear more appealing to cities as the micromobility sector consolidates around a few important companies and governments grow more selective about which operators they allow on their streets. If there’s one thing communities seem to despise more than scooters on sidewalks, it’s taking responsibility for why scooter users are on sidewalks in the first place and addressing the problem with dedicated bike lanes.
As a result, companies like Voi have resorted to modern rider support technologies in order to maintain their excellent name. It looks to be functioning as well. Voi, which has been operating in Oslo for almost two years, as well as Tier and Bolt (Bolt is another of Drover’s clients, as are Spin, Beam, Helbiz, and Fenix), just had their tender extended for another year. According to someone acquainted with the situation, the incorporation of Drover’s technology was one of the reasons Voi’s Safety & Parking score on its application placed highest out of the 12 firms who participated.
Over the next three months, hundreds of the 2,000 scooters the Swedish business is deploying in Oslo will be integrated with Drover’s PathPilot AI technology. Drover’s technology is capable of not only identifying whether a rider is on the sidewalk or improperly parked a scooter, but also of alerting the rider and even slowing them down. The operator and the city have discretion over these more extensive capabilities, and Voi has not yet stated how or if it would intervene if a rider is misbehaving. This isn’t the first time Voi has used camera-based technology to restrict scooters from riding on sidewalks or parking on them.
Last summer, Voi and Dublin-based Luna conducted a study in the United Kingdom to see how smart AI cameras may aid improve scooter parking, reduce sidewalk riding, and anticipate possible risks. According to a Voi spokeswoman, the Drover agreement will be comparable, but it will also help strengthen geofencing to manage how and where scooters are ridden and stored, and it will be done at scale. Voi also plans to leverage its partnership with Drover to compile a database of where and how scooters are used in Oslo. PathPilot will automatically give information on fleet use or rider behavior, which Voi claims it will be able to share with Oslo City Council to assist enhance the service by optimizing e-scooter sites or spotting fallen scooters that will be picked up by Voi staff.