E-scooter sounds tested on streets

Categories: Research, School of Science, Engineering and Environment

A pioneering live test of a selection of new alert sounds for e-scooters is taking place on UK streets for the first time. Dott, the responsible European micromobility company, is testing the sounds which were developed by researchers at the University of Salford, in partnership with the Royal National Institute for Blind People (RNIB).  

The on-street testing aims to find which is the best sound to alert other road users, without interfering with the e-scooter rider or creating unnecessary noise pollution.   The tests will take place on the streets around the University of Salford’s Peel Park campus this week. Different scenarios will be set up, with participants, including blind and partially sighted people in collaboration with RNIB, asked to comment on the suitability and preference of the sounds.  

The tests mark the next phase of the project, following successful tests earlier this year in a virtual reality environment to find the best candidate sounds for these final field trials. 

Dr Antonio J Torija Martinez, Principal Investigator at University of Salford, said: “These live trials will give us key data in making the final refinements to the sounds we have created specifically for electric scooters. We are aiming to make something that can be used industry wide and really help improve the safety of these scooters.

“The sound that is best at alerting road users and is also acceptable to the scooter rider will be the one we recommend in our final report.

“We are testing a series of carefully designed e-scooter sounds to find the right balance between maximum vehicle noticeability and minimum noise pollution. 

“By working closely with the RNIB and blind associations across Europe, we can ensure that the sound we develop is the best fit for their needs.”

Robin Spinks, RNIB Head of Inclusive Design, said: “Electric scooters and other micro mobility vehicles present a significant hazard to blind and partially sighted people who may be unaware of the presence of a vehicle. We're collaborating with industry and academia to test and recommend solutions which will enable much easier vehicle detection and improved pedestrian safety.”

Maxim Romain, Co-Founder and COO, at Dott, said: “We want to ensure that our vehicles not only work for our users, but are integrated into cities in a safe and responsible way, respecting all city residents. We hope that the development of an industry-standard sound will help the most vulnerable road users feel more confident whilst on the streets, improving the experience of shared micromobility in cities.”

For all press office enquiries please email communications@salford.ac.uk.