Electric scooter company Bird to utilize Augmented Reality in its new VPS parking technology powered by Google’s ARCore Geospatial API

In Augmented Reality News 

May 12, 2022 – Bird Global, Inc., a provider of environmentally friendly electric transportation in the form of e-scooters and e-bikes, has recently announced its new parking technology, Bird Visual Parking System (VPS), which is available for free to city partners and requires zero infrastructure or tech investments on behalf of the community.

Bird VPS is a new parking tool, powered by Google’s ARCore Geospatial API, which was announced yesterday at Google’s I/O developer conference. According to the company, the technology enables Bird to geo-localize its parked scooters with pinpoint accuracy by leveraging Google’s augmented reality (AR) technology, 3D scanning and Google Maps Street View data from around the world. With this new technology, Bird riders can more accurately and precisely end their eco-friendly rides in a tidy manner while adhering to communities’ parking guidelines in an effort to keep walkways and ramps free of obstruction.

“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.”

Bird stated that 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. The company also believes that the VPS solution will help its service to be immune to theft or vandalism.

When using Bird VPS, riders need to take three steps using VPS:

  • Scan – When ending a ride, the rider is prompted to quickly scan the surrounding area with the camera on their smartphone;
  • Analyze – Using Google’s new ARCore Geospatial API, Bird instantaneously compares the rider’s images to those in Google’s knowledge base of data and Street View images;
  • Park – With the resulting centimeter-level geolocation, Bird VPS will either allow the rider to park and go on with their day (if it complies with local city parking requirements) or prompt them to correct the vehicle’s parking before ending the ride.

Bird VPS is free for Bird’s city partners. It is currently being piloted in New York City, San Francisco and San Diego with plans to expand to more of Bird’s 400+ partner cities.

Scooter companies have made headlines in recent years, with rentable scooters littering sidewalks in multiple cities and generally causing a nuisance to pedestrians. Companies such as Bird have vowed to do more to get their users to obey local regulations and bylaws. The utilization of augmented reality within its parking solution marks another step by the company in ensuring that users return scooters to appropriate locations in the proper manner.

Image credit: Bird Global, Inc.

About the author

Sam Sprigg

Sam is the Founder and Managing Editor of Auganix. With a background in research and report writing, he has been covering XR industry news for the past seven years.