Former Ireland rugby union captain Brian O’Driscoll has invested in two Irish e-scooter start-ups. Explaining that he sees, “huge potential for e-scooters,” O’Driscoll has backed micro-mobility operator, Zipp Mobility, as well as Dublin-based software firm, Luna.
Prominent e-scooter operator Voi is currently trialling pedestrian detection technology developed by Luna and the firm has also now signed a deal with Zipp, which has started running an e-scooter trial in Somerset.
Luna’s software, which works via high-end camera sensors and Edge AI algorithms, can identify when an e-scooter is in a heavily pedestrianised area and will reduce its speed accordingly.
It can also detect the kind of surface over which the scooter is being ridden (bike lane, pavement or road) and take similar measures.
The same technology can also be used for parking, allowing e-scooters to be positioned with “centimetre-level accuracy” in designated areas.
Silicon Republic reports that Luna recently attracted £400,000 in seed funding from an investment consortium that includes O’Driscoll.
“It was clear from the moment that Luna came to us that this technology has a massively bright future as a key enabler of the continued growth and adoption of micro-mobility,” said O’Driscoll, who also committed funding to Zipp in September of last year.
“We see huge potential for e-scooters to fulfil the needs of first and last-mile transport, in a way which also benefits the environment as well as communities,” he continued. “In my view, Luna provides the crucial safety layer for shared e-scooters and other shared micro-mobility vehicles such as e-mopeds, which will lead to mass market adoption.”
E-scooters remain illegal in Ireland, but Minister for Transport, Eamon Ryan TD, last month proposed the creation of a new vehicle category to cover them.
Powered personal transporters (PPTs) will be treated much like bikes, meaning tax, insurance and driving licences will not be required.