We’ve begun bringing our new Voiager 4 (V4) model to market, and now that the birds are singing and better weather is on the way, we’re exploring the forward-looking features that will keep the V4 in tip-top shape on those springtime rides. The early bird catches the worm, and when it comes to e-scooters, having the right maintenance and monitoring systems in place to catch problems before they occur creates a host of benefits for our users and partner cities — including a healthier, safer fleet on the ground and more efficient operations.
The V4’s IoT (Internet of things) hardware — the e-scooter’s control centre — is equipped with the technology to enable predictive maintenance. This means that the IoT will be able to monitor the condition and performance of the scooter through data analysis tools and sensors before issues arise.
Being able to detect and anticipate anomalies or possible defects means we can nip problems in the bud, helping to keep our riders and other road users safe.
These new features have been specifically tailored to meet the needs of our customers — users and cities — and as Shahin Ghazinouri, our VP of hardware engineering, explains, that was one of the big advantages to developing the IoT fully in-house.
“With the V4, we were able to take many more learnings from our operations, listening to customers, talking to our partner cities,” says Ghazinouri. “This led to us prioritising certain features for the IoT, including location accuracy, stability of cellular connection, and additional sensors.”
The V4 will come with at least 10 sensors that monitor all the electrical components, from the turn indicators on the handlebars to the motor by the rear wheel. The IoT will be able to conduct automatic diagnostic checks that predict the need for maintenance or repairs, evaluating more than 300 different parameters and identifying 55 unique error conditions, which, if triggered, instantly make the scooter unavailable to hire and alert the operational team.
The V4’s advanced battery management system enables predictive battery analytics that track each cell’s health to extend battery lifespan and flag potential issues. For example, there are three different sensors that report on the battery’s temperature. We also partner with Nortical, a company that builds tools for intelligent Lithium-ion performance prediction and third-party verification of battery data, to analyse our battery metrics and give us sustainability and operational recommendations.
“We spent a lot of time ensuring the best manufacturing and quality-control processes were in place,” says Ghazinouri. “We wanted to make sure the IoT hardware does not malfunction or get damaged. It’s been rigorously tested in different conditions, environments, and temperatures.”
(You might be wondering about the maintenance of mechanical components, such as kickstands — those are manually inspected by our operations teams on a daily basis.)
With a lifespan of 5+ years, we intend for the V4 to be around for a long time. We are looking ahead to new features enabled by over-the-air software upgrades. (The V4 IoT has a 4G connection, so it’s quick and efficient.) We will be able, for example, to use motion sensors to understand rider behaviour and different road surfaces. We will also be able to look at usage metrics, such as how long a scooter’s motor has been running or how many times a rider has used the brake handles, to complete proactive maintenance depending on usage cycles.
That’s something to look forward to!