Because of COVID-19 fears, there is a decline of people using mass transit and Uber for short city trips and increased adoption of personal micromobility for health and environmental purposes. Along with this trend, we know there is an increased need for regulation of micromobility by municipalities for both safety and enforcement purposes. We’re excited to work with Drover, which seeks to solve those issues with their device, PathPilot.
The Nuts & Bolts
Problem: Scooter operators have increasingly needed to adjust to new regulations in the industry related to speed, parking, and areas of use. These operators also must win approvals from municipalities around the world to launch their services. As these regulations become more commonplace, operators will most likely need to find workable solutions to comply in order to conduct business.
Solution: Drover makes a device called PathPilot, a set of sensors and a camera that combine with Drover software. The technology uses edge-based machine learning to locate scooters more accurately than GPS alone and ensure compliance with regulations on usage in certain areas (such as the sidewalk, bike lane, and road); the technology also controls speed, parking, and other features. Not only can PathPilot help operators potentially win contracts with cities, it could help them reduce costs due to redistribution and hardware loss.
When 500 Met Drover
We met the Drover team through 500 Startups’ Board member, Max Scheder-Bieschin. The founders have extensive experience in the space. Co-Founder Alex Nesic previously ran a turnkey scooter platform and served as COO of another electric scooter hardware company. Max’s brother Christian Scheder-Bieschin is the CEO and worked with Alex at both previous scooter companies. CTO Jamie Ahmad previously founded Modern Propulsion, which focused on drivetrain improvements for e-vehicles.
The company fits into our ESG policy because they organize volunteer opportunities for their employees to engage with underrepresented communities, especially those that reflect the company’s customer base. They also work towards four of the UN Sustainable Development Goals: 3, 7, 11, and 13.
As micromobility becomes more ubiquitous, scooter operators need a way to keep their costs in line as well as be able to comply with regulations in municipalities around the world. Cities are looking to control the scooters operating in their jurisdiction more closely. PathPilot is able to connect with an operator’s fleet and make it easier for regulations to be enforced and monitored by the operator.
Between 2018 and 2019, there has been over 100% increase in scooter trips, though there were signs that expansion is unsustainable without regulation, even prior to COVID-19. However, scooter operators face operational challenges as well as potential new regulations that can restrict operations unless they can demonstrate higher levels of control and visibility of their product. Drover helps these operators control their fleet through a sensor package that can help with more accurate GPS, speed controls, and eventually more accurate geofencing and parking controls.
Because PathPilot allows operators a level of control over their network, operators could win more contracts and maintain existing ones with municipalities as standards for both data sharing and enforcement become requisite to operate in nearly every market. With the technology, operators can not only demonstrate compliance with regulatory requirements, but also potentially manage their fleet at a lower cost and with fewer losses.
Future of Drover
Drover is currently conducting numerous pilots with scooter operators around the world. The company is also continuing to develop sensor capabilities, particularly concerning location sensing, geofencing, and scene classification for parking enforcement.
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You can learn more about Drover at: https://www.drover.ai/.
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