Europe’s leading e-scooter operator TIER and Irish micromobility tech platform Luna have announced a strategic partnership to explore the piloting and deployment of computer vision and smart city technology on shared e-scooter fleets, across Europe and the Middle East. In response to today’s announcement, Luna will also create 15 new full time jobs to assist with the work on these pilot projects. These jobs will cover computer vision/AI, hardware, IoT and project management roles in Ireland.
The announcement comes as part of an Enterprise Ireland trade mission to Germany where Tánaiste, Leo Varadkar T.D. met with representatives from Luna and Tier in Berlin. The meeting was to further understand the nexus between Ireland and Germany within the e-mobility and automotive industry, and the future role of shared e-scooter schemes in Ireland once the required legislation is passed.
The strategic partnership builds on the Dublin pilot which is taking place across DCU’s five campuses, and which also involves the Insight SFI Research Centre for Data Analytics. TIER and Luna are exploring the option of partnering in Paris and examining the possibilities of how vision-enabled e-scooters can assist the Mayor’s Smart City ambitions, using high fidelity and high frequency imagery captured by a portion of TIER’s fleet of 5,000 scooters there.
In addition to Paris, both companies are also exploring partnering in the Middle East with Smart City stakeholders, to examine the potential for bespoke computer vision solutions to tackle local issues around safety, infrastructure optimisation, as well as current and future municipal governance requirements. Additional pilot projects are also being explored in Spain amongst other locations, but details on these locations are yet to be finalised.
Another element of today’s announcement is that there will be a further collaboration with various digital mapping platforms, which will look at how TIER riders and computer vision on scooters can be utilised to capture more accurate and up to date mapping data, that will assist the deployment of micromobility schemes in cities on a global scale. Existing mapping platforms scan cities maybe once or twice a year, whereas scooters can capture and infill additional street level data on a daily basis.
Finally, as part of the strategic partnership, TIER and Luna are also embarking on a technical integration project to examine how the Luna computer vision hardware can be embedded into TIER vehicles at the point of manufacture. This will allow Tier to develop a next generation e-scooter that allows the current Luna standalone computer vision tech to integrate more deeply with the vehicle, similar to how Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) tech has evolved in the automotive industry.
Speaking at the announcement of this strategic partnership, Tánaiste (Irish Deputy Prime Minister) and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar T.D. said: “I’m really happy to see this strategic partnership between Irish company Luna and Europe’s leading e-scooter operator TIER. Ireland is introducing a new law to allow for the legal usage of scooters on our roads in our towns and cities, as they become an increasingly popular option for commuters. Luna will hire 15 people as a result of the partnership, which will help build on the current pilot project that is taking place in DCU. These kinds of innovative partnerships can provide Ireland with a ‘second mover advantage’, helping us avoid some of the safety and other teething issues of earlier e-scooter schemes elsewhere. With this in mind it’s reassuring to see TIER, not only bringing advanced technology to solve some of the challenges we will no doubt also face in Ireland, but also to see them working with Irish stakeholders such as the NCBI and the Irish Wheelchair Association, through their recently established Safety Board.”
Matthias Laug, CTO and Co-Founder of TIER, said: “We are already working closely with Luna in Dublin, and this broader strategic agreement allows us to expand the scope and ambition of our partnership. We see computer vision as a valuable tool in our mission to change mobility for good and to lead the way towards seamless, sustainable and safe micro-mobility. Alongside our world-leading parking capabilities with Fantasmo, this powerful collaboration with Europe’s leading computer vision and edge AI startup in the scooter space, allows us to explore the full potential of this exciting technology on our fleet. Luna thinks about cities in the same way as we do, and we look forward to jointly developing new solutions that address some of the key smart city challenges our city partners are identifying, from pavement riding to infrastructure monitoring and from litter alerts to road condition reports.”
Andrew Fleury, Co-Founder & CEO, Luna said: “Luna is thrilled to be partnering so closely with TIER across multiple geographies in the EU and Middle East. Cities and stakeholders everywhere are looking towards smart technology to help find solutions to some of the operational challenges that are holding the shared scooter industry back from fulfilling its potential. TIER is embracing Luna technology, even at this early stage of its evolution, in order to pioneer the future of micromobility, and deliver safe and sustainable services that not only do the basics of looking after rider and pedestrian safety, but also look to the future where scooter fleets act as mobile sensor networks in the smart cities of tomorrow. The rate of industry advancement is astonishing in the shared scooter sector, and TIER is very much to the fore in this regard, having already developed an innovative Energy Network infrastructure for its user swappable batteries, as well as pioneering the deployment of Augmented Reality parking technology. Luna sees TIER as a natural partner in our mission to keep people safe and make cities smarter, and we’re excited to see how the partnership develops over time.
We were also excited to announce the expansion of our team with the creation of 15 brand new jobs over the coming months especially in the presence of the Tánaiste, who responded positively to the work we are currently undertaking in the micromobility sector.”