IoT enabled e-scooter trials start in the UK

David Parry-Jones of Twilio

The UK government is now running trials of electric scooters (e-scooters) in London. New guidance has been issued listing the rules for the general public who are using e-scooters within the trials.

However, the rules for private e-scooters have not changed. It is still against the law in the UK to use a privately owned e-scooter. If you use an e-scooter illegally you could face a fine, get penalty points on your licence, or the e-scooter could be impounded.

Trial areas

Trials are taking place in 32 areas in England, ranging from Bournemouth and Poole to Salford, and Sunderland. The maximum speed for an e-scooter is 15.5mph (25km/h). Trial e-scooters are limited to this speed and in some areas they may be limited to a lower maximum speed.

Driving licences

You must have the category Q entitlement on your driving licence to use an e-scooter, or a full or provisional UK licence for categories AM, A or B includes entitlement for category Q. If you have a provisional licence, you do not need to show Learner L plates when using an e-scooter.

Commenting on the news, David Parry-Jones, senior vice president EMEA at Twilio says, “The pandemic has changed the way people get around cities, with public transportation usage dropping due to social distancing rules. As the pandemic progressed and trials in the rest of the UK commenced in June last year, single-user escooter and e-bike companies have seen the benefits of this changing consumer behaviour. As a result, e-mobility providers are seeing exponential growth, with Lime expected to become profitable this year.

“But it’s not just e-vehicle providers like Lime that are set to benefit from the UK’s e-mobility movement. The business opportunity for the wider tech industry supporting e-mobility providers is huge. Innovations in software and the IoT are powering pilots in London and beyond, enabling e-mobility providers to scale greener, sustainable transport options fast.”

Parry-Jones continues, “E-mobility providers are in a race to get to market and software is vital to break down the barriers they face and fuel their growth. Some of the most common barriers are getting hold of SIMs fast enough to manufacture connected vehicles, and the ability to ensure reliable connectivity so devices can stay in use, and thus continue to drive revenue. Lime for instance uses Twilio Super SIM, IoT SIMs connected to Twilio’s Super Network – a software layer that sits on top of network operators to provide access to different networks.

Without this, Lime would have to grapple with multiple SIMs and operator billing relationships, making its operations complicated and expensive and significantly hindering its fast growth at a critical turning point. Instead Lime uses one universal IoT SIM, so it can control network coverage, availability and cost easily.

Having one SIM that works anywhere also ensures that Lime’s e-vehicles automatically work in any new country they want to test and launch in. And a multi-IMSI SIM with access to multiple carriers in each country and automated failover also means that Lime can avail more reliable cellular coverage to geo-fence their scooters and adhere to the local rules and safety precautions in specific areas in each city.

“Software is removing the roadblocks faced by e-mobility providers and as such the business opportunity is only expected to grow as city-wide e-mobility initiatives continue to accelerate, be it scooters or bikes or any other connected vehicle,” he adds.

“Beyond the current scooter trials, the future is bright for the tech providers supporting the UK’s e-mobility movement. We can expect to see new forms of connected shared vehicles taking to the streets in the next few years, including vehicles or new features for disabled people, voice-activated features, self-charging vehicles and potentially even self-driving vehicles.,” Parry-Jones concludes. “All of these opportunities will require support from IoT platforms and software to empower a successful rollout and efficient ongoing vehicle management.”

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