E-scooter provider Bird has unveiled its new parking technology, Bird Visual Parking System (VPS), a scalable parking tool powered by Google’s ARCore Geospatial API.
The technology enables Bird to geo-localize parked scooters with pinpoint accuracy by using Google 3D scanning, augmented reality (AR) technology and Google Maps Street View data.
When ending a ride, the rider is prompted to quickly scan the surrounding area with the camera on their smartphone. Using Google’s new ARCore Geospatial API, Bird analyzes and compares the rider’s images to those in Google’s knowledge base of data and Street View images. With the resulting centimeter-level geolocation, Bird VPS will either allow the rider to park and go on with their day or prompt them to correct the vehicle’s parking before ending the ride.
“The new ARCore Geospatial API from Google is an absolute game changer for micromobility that allows us to offer cities a first-of-its-kind visual parking system that’s unmatched in terms of accuracy and scalability,” said Justin Balthrop, chief technology officer at Bird. “With Bird VPS, we’re able to meet cities’ number one need, proper parking, in a way that’s never been possible before, and we’re able to do it at scale in cities around the world thanks to Google’s robust global data and technology.”
The technology exists within the Bird app and can be used on both iOS and Android operating systems, allowing for it to scale to all Bird riders over time and to be immune to theft or vandalism. It is available for free to Bird’s city partners and requires no infrastructure or tech investments on behalf of the community.
Bird VPS is currently being piloted in New York City, San Francisco and San Diego with plans to expand globally.