UCD to collaborate with Irish e-scooter start-up on safety research

Micromobility company Zipp Mobility is partnering with the Energy Institute at University College Dublin (UCD) to conduct research into e-scooter safety.

Zipp Mobility, which is headquartered at UCD’s NovaUCD innovation centre, will partly fund the research along with Enterprise Ireland.

The project is aiming to develop tech accessories to make e-scooters safer in urban environments. A team from the UCD School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering will use Zipp e-scooters to test prototypes such as noisemaking and lighting features, to ensure the vehicles 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,” said Dr Paul Cuffe of the UCD Energy Institute.

“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.”

Cuffe added that with the growing popularity of e-scooters in cities around the world, it is particularly necessary to ensure they would not endanger people.

Prof Andrew Keane, director of the UCD Energy Institute, said the research collaboration is aligned strongly with the institute’s strategy to deliver research supporting a net zero energy system by 2050, with transport being an area of “increasing focus”.

“Choice around low-carbon modes of transport will play a big role in reducing emissions from energy use.”

Zipp Mobility plans to launch its e-scooter sharing services in Ireland next year, as soon as regulations allow. It has chosen several Irish cities including Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Galway and Waterford, and also plans to begin operations in Portugal and Spain in 2022.

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It has already rolled out its e-scooters in the UK and Poland. The company’s founder, Charlie Gleeson, said he wanted the product to be “as safe as possible” ahead of its Irish launch.

He added that the company’s collaboration with UCD reaffirmed both its “commitment to safety” and its “commitment to R&D activities in Ireland”.

Zipp Mobility has raised €2.1m from investors, having recently closed a €1.3m funding round.

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