Bird Scooters
A man in a suit rides an electric BIRD rental scooter along a street in San Dieg. REUTERS/Mike Blake

Electric bike and scooter companies Bird and Lime announced Wednesday they are using geolocation technology from Google to help riders safely park the shared vehicles out of the way of pedestrians.

Santa Monica-based Bird and San Francisco-based Lime said they have piloted parking systems based on Google’s ARCore Geospatial API in San Diego and a handful of other cities around the world.

The technology requires riders to open their mobility app and quickly scan the area where they want to park. The system then compares the images with a database and suggests an exact location.

“The new ARCore Geospatial API from Google is an absolute game changer for micro-mobility 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.

Lime said riders who have used its version saw a 26% decrease in parking errors compared with riders who did not have it enabled. 

“We strongly believe that sidewalks must be accessible to all and this partnership with Google shows promise in reducing misparked vehicles that might impede pedestrians and persons with disabilities,” said Joe Kraus, president of Lime.

Shared mobility companies have been under pressure from local governments to control parking to keep sidewalks clear.

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.