Cutting edge smart sidewalk protection technology for electric scooters

13 October 2021

Bird_u-blox_Safe Sidewalk Detection
Bird_u-blox_Safe Sidewalk Detection

e-mobility expert, Bird & u-blox team up to meet demand for integrated, precise sidewalk riding prevention solution for electric scooters & e-bikes.

Environmentally friendly electric transportation expert, Bird has announced a first-of-its-kind smart sidewalk protection technology – a sensor fusion solution – designed and developed in partnership with wireless communication & positioning technology & services specialist, u-blox. Smart Sidewalk Protection, which is integrated into Bird’s vehicles, is designed to prevent micromobility devices from being used on sidewalks and footpaths.  

As more and more cities look to integrate shared micromobility into the climate action plans that focus on reduced carbon emissions in their communities, technology that prevents sidewalk riding has become increasingly important. Through its collaboration with u-blox, Bird co-developed the industry’s first robust, integrated sensor fusion system that tracks location with centimetre-level precision. By combining u-blox’s ZED-F9R high precision dead reckoning module with centimetre-level sidewalk mapping and Bird’s suite of onboard vehicle sensors, the integrated system effectively and efficiently detects and prevents sidewalk or footpath riding in real time. For example, as opposed to traditional GPS with cloud-based maps that can take more than 15 seconds to respond, Bird's new smart sidewalk protection can safely bring a vehicle that has entered onto a sidewalk to a safe stop while allowing the rider to walk the vehicle back to the roadway or bike lane.

Everything we build at Bird is centered around safety and scalability, sidewalk riding detection is no exception,” said Scott Rushforth, Chief Vehicle Officer at Bird. “After three years of building, testing and piloting a range of technologies, including but not limited to on board cameras, GPS tracking, ultra-wideband and beacons, we found that each was insufficient with regard to accuracy, precision, immediacy or scalability. Our testing led us to a collaboration with u-blox, which resulted in the development of our end-to-end sensor fusion solution that meets our criteria.”   

We are very excited about this collaboration between u-blox and Bird,” said Alex Ngi, Product Manager Positioning at u-blox. “Our centimetre-level precise GNSS positioning technology will now be implemented in the expanding micromobility industry, strengthening our contribution to a safer and more ecological world.

Bird’s sidewalk detection technology is currently being piloted in Milwaukee and San Diego, and is expected to be piloted in Madrid in early 2022.

For more about Bird’s sensor fusion solution that prevents sidewalk and footpath riding, visit:

About Bird
Bird is an electric vehicle company dedicated to bringing affordable, environmentally friendly transportation solutions such as e-scooters and e-bikes to communities across the world. Founded in 2017 by transportation pioneer, Travis VanderZanden, Bird is rapidly expanding. Today, it provides fleets of shared micro electric vehicles to riders in more than 300 cities globally and makes its products available for purchase at and via leading retailers and distribution partners. Bird partners closely with the cities in which it operates to provide a reliable and affordable transportation option for people who live and work there.

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