Bird's scooters will now emit annoying beeps when you drive on the sidewalk
3 min read
Bird is using unique GPS technology to prevent customers in some cities from riding their electric scooters on the sidewalk.
Riding an electric scooter on the sidewalk is dangerous, but scooter-sharing companies have struggled to prevent their customers from engaging in risky behavior. Bird thinks it has found a solution: annoying beeps.

Using technology provided by a company called u-blox, Bird is rolling out an end-to-end GPS system "designed to deliver centimeter-level accuracy specifically for the micromobility industry." Riders who stray onto the sidewalk will be bombarded with audio alerts from the scooter, as well as notifications on their smartphones, warning them to get back on the street. Failure to follow directions results in a de-powered scooter: the vehicle will slow down and eventually come to a stop.

The problem Bird is trying to solve is a seemingly intractable one

The problem Bird is trying to solve is a seemingly intractable one. Riders have a difficult time tracking down available scooters when they want one. And scooters sometimes block sidewalks, obstructing the path for people in wheelchairs and other pedestrians with mobility concerns. They all end up cluttered in a handful of places rather than spread evenly around a city. And cities have complained about the companies failing to place enough scooters in low-income and minority communities…
Andrew J. Hawkins
Read full article