Luna and Tier Mobility are teaming up to expand on their pilot e-scooter project at DCU.
Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, TD, has announced that Irish e-scooter tech start-up Luna will be creating 15 new jobs after securing a partnership with German company Tier Mobility.
Dublin-based Luna, which has been backed by former Irish rugby player Brian O’Driscoll, develops AI tech for the growing e-scooter market. It uses precise positioning and computer vision to let operators know where e-scooters are and how they are being parked and ridden.
Luna and Berlin-based Tier have collaborated in the past, working on a research pilot at Dublin City University alongside the Insight research centre for data analytics. The new collaboration is set to expand on the e-scooter project, and Luna now plans to grow its team from five full-time staff to 20 in the coming months.
New jobs will be based in Ireland and will cover computer vision, AI, hardware, IoT and project management roles.
The two companies said that they are currently considering expansion in Paris and the Middle East. They also might launch additional pilot projects in Spain and other locations.
The new jobs will support the collaboration and integration of various digital mapping platforms, looking at how Tier riders can help capture more accurate mapping data with Luna’s tech.
The partnership will also examine how Luna’s computer vision hardware can be integrated into Tier’s e-scooters at the point of manufacture. This would allow a deeper integration of Luna’s standalone computer vision technology.
“Luna is thrilled to be partnering so closely with Tier across multiple geographies in the EU and Middle East,” said Andrew Fleury, co-founder and CEO of Luna.
“Cities and stakeholders everywhere are looking towards smart technology to help find solutions to some of the operational challenges that are holding the shared scooter industry back from fulfilling its potential.
“Tier is embracing Luna technology, even at this early stage of its evolution, in order to pioneer the future of micromobility, and deliver safe and sustainable services that not only do the basics of looking after rider and pedestrian safety, but also look to the future where scooter fleets act as mobile sensor networks in the smart cities of tomorrow.”
Securing international partnerships
Varadkar announced the collaboration earlier today (8 September) after travelling to Berlin as part of Enterprise Ireland’s three-day trade mission. He previously visited the UK on the trip, where he launched a roundtable event discussing housing innovation.
This is the first in-person trade mission undertaken by Enterprise Ireland since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. It’s also the first mission since the EU-UK Trade Agreement was reached.
Speaking about Luna’s partnership, Varadkar said: “I’m really happy to see this strategic partnership between Irish company Luna and Europe’s leading e-scooter operator Tier. Ireland is introducing a new law to allow for the legal usage of scooters on our roads in our towns and cities, as they become an increasingly popular option for commuters.
“Luna will hire 15 people as a result of the partnership, which will help build on the current pilot project that is taking place in DCU. These kinds of innovative partnerships can provide Ireland with a ‘second mover advantage’, helping us avoid some of the safety and other teething issues of earlier e-scooter schemes elsewhere. ”
As well as the jobs announcement, Varadkar launched Enterprise Ireland’s fourth Enter the Eurozone programme, which aims to accelerate Irish export growth, and said that trade and collaboration will be crucial to rebuilding after Covid-19.
Tom Cusack, head of international sales and partnering at Enterprise Ireland, added that Ireland and Germany have a “strong and important trading relationship” across industries such as life sciences, agritech, construction and digital technology.
“With exports of €1.3bn in 2020, Germany is one of our largest trading partners within the Eurozone,” he said. “As we emerge from Covid-19, the focus is on recovery and accelerating Irish exports, growing new business and new market opportunities.”
Updated, 2pm, 8 September 2021: This article was updated to include additional information about the partnership from Luna.