Voi has announced that it will install sound on e-scooters in three UK cities. The trial, which will take place in Birmingham, Liverpool and Bristol, aims to combat pavement riding and to help protect pedestrians with sight loss.
Voi engineers have designed a bespoke ‘low hum’, which will be added to Voi’s bright coral e-scooters to alert other road users that an e-scooter is approaching. The noise replicates the artificial engine noise introduced on electric cars in recent years. Voi has said that the sound can be adapted and improved, based on feedback from users and the visually impairment community.
Over the next three months, Voi will be adding the sound to 60 e-scooters in Birmingham, Liverpool and Bristol. The micromobility company will be running in-person testing events with sight loss organisations and local authorities to get their feedback on the sound in a real-world environment. Voi will be working with the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) to manage the sessions as part of a wider collaboration to ensure people with sight loss are not adversely affected by e-scooter pilots.
The e-scooter sound pilot will run alongside a formal written consultation to gather feedback from visual impairment organisations, local authorities and police forces regarding the use of artificial vehicle alert systems. Voi will also reach out to Voi riders via email, prompting a questionnaire to identify whether the sound impacted the user experience.
At the end of the three months, Voi will work with the RNIB to assess the feedback and publish its findings.
Voi is committed to exploring how innovation can ensure that everyone is empowered in the shift from private cars to more sustainable modes of transport. Earlier this month, the company announced the launch of redesigned coral pink parking racks created in partnership with the RNIB, to improve visibility and address mobility issues faced by blind and partially sighted people. The first RNIB-designed racks have been installed in Birmingham and will be rolled out in areas where Voi is trialling its e-scooters, to improve safe parking and limit street clutter.
Voi also focuses on user education and innovative features that encourage good parking behaviour including an ‘end of the ride photo’ feature, which requires riders to take and submit a photo of their parked scooter after each ride. So far, the company has seen a 70% improvement in good parking behaviour with the introduction of this feature.