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Bird Unveils Autonomous Emergency Braking System

The micro-mobility company Bird has unveiled the industry’s first Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) system, a feature aimed at safeguarding e-scooter riders against potential brake failure and ensure they can always bring the vehicle to a stop. [1]

The system monitors the vehicles’ mechanical brakes and - if a braking request by a rider is met with a failed brake - activates to bring the rider to a stop. An e-scooter whose AEB system has been engaged will be unavailable for further use until it has been retrieved and repaired. “Autonomous emergency braking is now the standard in the automobile industry, but this is the first time that active safety technology has been developed for lightweight electric vehicles such as e-scooters,” says Scott Rushforth, Chief Vehicle Officer at Bird. “Bird’s AEB system relies on sensors and advanced fault detection capabilities that can only be found in Bird e-scooters. That’s why it’s so critical that micromobility operators, most of whom still rely on off-the-shelf models, invest the time and resources necessary to design and build their own vehicles.”

 

Personal comment

The introduction of the specific system is motivated by stating that: ”In transportation, safety is everything, and while e-scooter safety comes in many forms, perhaps the most fundamental is the ability to carefully and efficiently bring a rider to a stop.” Additional motivation could also be the growing competitiveness in the business, and a wish to have the best solutions in terms of both vehicles and overall service offer. In the car industry, the addition of novel features (including introductions of active safety systems) has been closely connected to customers' willingness to pay, at least before any wider (formal or informal) standards have been set. For micro-mobility providers, it would instead increasingly be about being awarded contracts and convincing cities that you have the most attractive solutions. While it would be nice to see some more hard facts on the value of this specific system, it is welcome that companies are looking to continuously improve on their products and services. In terms of hardware, such improvements could be related to cost and safety, but also life-cycle aspects and environmental impact.

 

Written by Victor Fabricius, RISE Mobility and Systems

 

Sources

1. 2020-12-04. Bird Unveils AEB, Micromobility’s First Autonomous Emergency Braking System