Irish effort to make scooters safer in urban environments

Irish scooter operator Zipp Mobility has joined forces with the UCD Energy Institute to develop accessory technologies to make e-scooters safer in urban environments.

The aim is to make scooters safe for the public as well as their riders.

Working in the UCD Energy Institute’s IELab, a team from the UCD School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering will undertake practical prototyping work on a number of Zipp e-scooters, upgrading them with smart noisemaking and lighting features to ensure the e-scooters can be seen and heard more clearly.

“Electric scooters can be rather quiet and inconspicuous, and pedestrians may not always be aware that they are approaching”

Since its establishment in 2019, Zipp has raised €2.1m from investors and become a significant player in the European scooter-sharing market with operations in the UK and Poland.

Next year the company plans to launch in several Irish cities including Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Galway and Waterford. Zipp also plans to begin operations in Portugal and Spain during 2022.

Practical and fun; let’s keep it that way

Two men on scooters.

A test

“E-scooters are a fun and practical mode of sustainable transport, and I’m delighted to see how popular they’re becoming in cities around the world,” said Dr Paul Cuffe from UCD Energy Institute.

“With this growing popularity, though, we need to ensure that they’re safe for all users of city streets. Electric scooters can be rather quiet and inconspicuous, and pedestrians may not always be aware that they are approaching. In this research collaboration we will work with Zipp to upgrade their e-scooters with smart noisemaking and lighting features, so they are visually and audibly more noticeable.”

The project is being supported with funding from Enterprise Ireland and Zipp Mobility.

“Zipp’s mission is ‘mobility done right’ and having world-class technology that prioritises safety is a cornerstone of our approach,” said Zipp founder and CEO Charlie Gleeson.

“When we launch our service in Ireland next year, we want it to be as safe as possible and this research follows on from feedback received from our existing customers in the UK and Poland. This partnership reaffirms our commitment to safety and our commitment to R&D activities in Ireland.”

Main image at top (from left): Professor Andrew Keane, Director, UCD Energy Institute, Dr Paul Cuffe, UCD Energy Institute and Charlie Gleeson, Zipp Mobility. Credit: Vincent Hoban, UCD

John Kennedy
Award-winning editor John Kennedy is one of Ireland's most experienced business and technology journalists.