Tier works on e-scooter 'universal sound'

Company says the sound will help warn blind people that a scooter is approaching
Detection, Monitoring & Machine Vision / February 17, 2022
By Ben Spencer
Tier universal sound electric scooter Dott Lime UCL Pearl research facility UK London
Tier will license the use of this sound for free to the benefit of other operators in the industry (© Cineberg Ug | Dreamstime.com)

Tier has entered a partnership to research and develop a 'universal sound' that could help people with sight loss identify a rental electric scooter regardless of make. 

Tier, Lime and Dott will carry out research with the aim of producing a sound that can be tested by operators in London this year, attaining an industry standard and scaling up to other cities in the UK and beyond.

The joint initiative follows extended engagement with disability experts and access consultants, including Transport for All, Thomas Pocklington Trust and Royal National Institute of Blind people. 

The sound will be 'ethically' tested at UCL's (University College London) specialist person environment activity research laboratory (Pearl) research facility, which can create different city environments, before testing on the street, to ensure it works for individuals in real-world settings.

UCL Pearl professor Nick Tyler says: “Through studying how the human hearing system has evolved, we can create sounds for e-scooters that are detectable without adding more noise to the environment. We plan to test a range of combinations of sounds and environments at UCL Pearl with people who are less likely to detect e-scooters nearby, so that we create a sound that works for all.”

Tier vice president Fred Jones says: “Tier will license the use of this sound for free to the benefit of other operators in our industry, and the residents of the cities in which they serve.”

Dott UKI general manager Duncan Robertson says: “By working with our partner operators, we are bringing together our collective insights to help find a solution which we hope will become consistent across the industry, and therefore as simple as possible for other road users and pedestrians to understand.”

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