Awful parking is the worst thing about escooters — TIER has a plan to fix it

This article was originally published by Christopher Carey on Cities Today, the leading news platform on urban mobility and innovation, reaching an international audience of city leaders. For the latest updates follow Cities Today on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube, or sign up for Cities Today News.

Escooter firm TIER has partnered with mapping provider Fantasmo to create what it claims is the world’s most accurate escooter parking system.

Starting in Paris and York, TIER will implement Fantasmo’s “Camera Positioning System” (CPS), a new positioning technology that is ten times more accurate than GPS and can validate e-scooter parking within 50 centimeters or less using a camera phone.

TIER says the new feature will all but eliminate irresponsible parking, an issue that has plagued city authorities globally since escooters were first rolled out on streets.

At the end of their journey, riders can scan the escooter’s QR code and point their phone’s camera at a nearby building, which Fantasmo uses to confirm they are parked within a city-approved area.

 

 

Matthias Laug, CTO and co-founder of TIER, said: “With this new technology, we can directly address the concerns of vulnerable road users when it comes to how scooters are parked. The CPS mapping used by Fantasmo has a distinct advantage over GPS signals, which are often obscured by buildings, poor connectivity, trees, and atmospheric conditions.

“Besides educating our users, we want to provide them with the technology that they need to use escooters safely and responsibly and this partnership does just that.”

Ground-level mapping

Los Angeles-based Fantasmo builds 3D maps of cities by foot, using its camera and sensor-equipped “Explorer” backpack.

The backpack, which has a 3D mapping solution with a six-camera array, LIDAR, and accompanying mobile control app, is worn by operators who walk around cities. The captured data is then processed with Fantasmo’s software into a detailed 3D model of the cities.

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The company has so far mapped over 1,800 kilometers of Parisian streets at ground level using the technology, and claims it is more accurate than satellite-based GPS, which is not always reliable in dense urban areas.

Fantasmo Co-Founder Jameson Detweiler said: “We’re excited to be working with TIER because their commitment to great parking compliance is the perfect real-world validation of our CPS technology. By mapping cities at the ground level, as pedestrians, we can help micromobility safely thrive in cities around the world.”

Paris crackdown

Following an influx of escooters in 2018 and a subsequent rise in complaints from locals frustrated with devices congesting public areas and causing an increase in accidents, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo introduced a raft of measures aimed at curbing their improper use, including fines of 135 euros (US$150) for riding on pavements, and banning the parking of e-scooters in non-designated zones.

Under current regulations, e-scooters can only be left in parking spaces allocated for cars and motorized two-wheel vehicles.

Mayor Hidalgo also tightened the regulation of e-scooter firms, selecting three ‘official operators’ – TIER, Lime and Dott – in July 2020, after 16 scooter-sharing companies responded to the city’s request for proposals to operate.

Each company was awarded a two-year contract allowing it to deploy 5,000 e-scooters throughout the city, for a total of 15,000 scooters.



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Published January 23, 2021 — 16:30 UTC



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