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Google & augmented reality will help e-scooter users park - Industry Europe

Google & augmented reality will help e-scooter users park – Industry Europe

Bird e-scooter parking. Credit: Bird Global

E-scooter parking may soon become easier than ever. Pictured is a Bird scooter in a test parking space placed by the firm. Credit: Bird Global

Supported by Google and powered by augmented reality, micromobility startup Bird’s Visual Parking System (VPS) has been designed to help users of its e-scooters find a place to park in the hopes it will “provide cleaner sidewalks” for the public.

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The tool leverages Google 3D scanning, augmented reality and street view data from around the world to scout for potential local parking spaces and deliver them straight to your smartphone.

When looking to park up, the rider need only scan the nearby area with their smartphone and scan the QR code on the scooter itself, which will pinpoint nearby docking.

In essence, the tool has been designed to combat an issue the firm helped create: a potential e-scooter apocalypse where supposedly eco-friendly vehicles are not left in line with local parking laws and end up creating as many issues as they solve.

It has been integrated into the Bird app, which users need in order to access their scooters.

Stationary objects such as buildings or signs are used as markers to help Google’s API identify where you are, while “disregarding” vehicles and pedestrians.

The firm has simplified the working of the tool to three main components: scan, analyse, and park in the hopes this will only increase the adoption of the VPS.

Bird currently operates scooter sharing services in Europe, the Middle East and North America, where the public can rent them for use for a while while in cities.

Bird parking app. Credit: Bird Global

A preview of the Bird parking tool, that has been integrated into its existing app. Credit: Bird Global

The technology is being made free to all users of Bird scooters in New York City, San Francisco and San Diego, Madrid, Bordeaux and Tel Aviv. However, the firm currently operates with partners in over 400 cities, meaning users across the globe could soon have access to easy scooter parking.

Bird believes this will help alleviate one of the hot issues of the micromobility sector and the biggest headaches for road users and pedestrians alike  – making the use of these scooters safer for all involved.

Bird CTO Justin Balthrop described the tech as an ” absolute gamechanger,” claiming it is “unmatched” in terms of accuracy and scalability.

“With tools like this, we’re able to meet cities’ number one need, proper parking, in a way that’s never been possible before, and we’re able to do it at scale in cities around the world thanks to Google’s robust global data and technology,” he added.

The app utilises Google’s new ARCore Geospatial API, which was unveiled earlier this year at the tech giant’s I/O conference, which enables the app to make use of augmented reality to track the parking spaces.

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With Google currently offering street view in at least 87 countries, this will allow e-scooter developers to add in parking spots precisely, giving users an almost exact location.

It could also play a role in encouraging the public to reconsider the potential of green urban mobility and dump cars in favour of e-scooters or e-bikes, lowering emissions and reducing congestion in some of the world’s densest urban areas.

– More information about how the tool works can be found on Bird’s blog.

This content was originally published here.