Voi Technology is launching an e-scooter that measures air quality as it travels in UK cities this spring. It features optional smart pollution sensors, as well as noise and light sensors, to help identify areas with poor air quality and high levels of noise pollution.
The Voiager 4 (V4) model also offers new safety features – including audible alarms and indicators – designed to increase the visibility of e-scooters to pedestrians and to vulnerable road users, including those with vision impairments.
Integration with public transport
As well as lower traffic congestion and collect valuable environmental data, the V4 is also designed to integrate better with public transport systems. It can be unlocked via contactless NFC (near field communication) technology with the tap of a smartphone, smart watch, or transport card. This means that it could be used in conjunction with an Oyster card.
Voi has also stepped up its commitment to rider safety with its latest model, as part of its Vision Zero pledge to work towards transport without fatalities or serious injuries. The key safety features include:
- turn indicators that give 360 degree visibility and help ensure riders are able to communicate their intended manoeuvres safely to other road users
- a reinforced fender, improved hydraulic suspension and large, higher-quality tyres that increase shock absorption and ease impact from cobblestones and potholes
- all-weather capabilities and the ability to withstand submersion in water up to a depth of 1.3 metres (its electronic enclosures have an IXP7, ingress protection rating
- new Internet of Things (IoT) hardware, designed in house, which enables a range of safety and operational innovations, including high-accuracy positioning
- sub-one metre location accuracy to enhance navigation, improve geofencing for park/ride zones and ensure that visibility on the app is always accurate.
Voi will introduce the V4 to select UK markets this spring, with broader roll-out later in 2021. So far, Voi claims it has achieved more than 35 million scooter rides in Europe and now operates in 11 countries.
“As we continue to strengthen our market position in the UK, we are thrilled to bring the Voiager 4 to our partner cities and growing customer base. “We know that our communities require greener, convenient transport to replace shorter-distance car trips and reduce congestion,” said Richard Corbett, regional general manager UK, Ireland and Benelux at Voi Technology. “The new features, designed in-house, will bring superlative overall performance in safety, efficiency, and sustainability to help our communities meet their transportation needs.”
The scooters have a lifespan of five-plus years and an intelligent system conducts automatic diagnostic checks that predict the need for maintenance or repairs, identifying 55 unique error conditions, which, if triggered, instantly make the scooter unavailable to hire and alert the operational team. The V4 also includes a dedicated slot for extra sensor devices, expanding the IoT’s future capabilities.
To improve location accuracy, the IoT compensates for lost or degraded GNSS satellite signals in three ways. In what claims to be an industry first, the IoT uses dual-band GNSS (L1 and L5 bands); comparing and averaging the two signals minimises positioning errors, since each signal can be affected differently by urban features such as tall buildings or trees, or by atmospheric disruptions.
It also accesses corrections from European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS), provided by the European space agency. When GNSS-only positioning is difficult or impossible, the IoT combines information from various sensors (gyro sensor, accelerometer, scooter speed) to calculate the scooter’s current position.
Additional features of the V4 include:
- widened, all-weather, solid (not air-filled) honeycomb 10-inch tyres and hydraulic front suspension provide unrivalled grip, brake effectiveness, and shock absorption on all road surfaces
- antimicrobial handlebars facilitate safe shared use and prevent the spread of viruses (including Covid-19) by inactivating them on contact
- onboard Bluetooth technology communicates with iBeacons at Voi parking racks to ensure scooters are parked with sub-centimeter accuracy
- acoustic vehicle alert system (AVAS) notifies pedestrians of an oncoming scooter, especially beneficial to visually impaired and vulnerable road users.