Beryl launches Social Digital Twin project to improve e-scooter scheme efficiency

Posted: 19 April 2023 | | No comments yet

The Social Digital Twin technology will simulate the behaviour of people in the real world, allowing Beryl to make more accurate predictions of the impact of initiatives and incentives on people’s transport choices.

Beryl launch Social Digital Twin project

Credit: Beryl

Beryl has announced that it has partnered with Fujitsu to launch a new research project, designed to improve the efficiency and sustainability of the Isle of Wight’s shared e-scooter scheme.

Using digital rehearsal technology known as Social Digital Twin, the project will aim to help the Beryl-operated scheme to increase vehicle availability at the most convenient spots, while reducing operational costs and carbon emissions. 

The new technology combines behavioural economics models and artificial intelligence (AI), allowing for simulations that mirror the behaviour of people in the real world. The simulations can not only re-produce biased behaviours, including overestimation of losses, but also indirect factors such as weather.

This enables them to more accurately predict the impact of initiatives and incentives on people’s transport choices, such as offering discounted fees for users who return e-scooters to specific bays. It will also be able to more accurately predict how changes to transportation will affect operating costs and contribute towards reducing Beryl’s overall carbon footprint. 

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Beryl’s Chief Technology Officer, Sacha Manson-Smith, said: “Social Digital Twin will help Beryl to accurately predict how changes in human behaviour interact with evolving conditions in the environment, providing us with even higher levels of forecasting accuracy. We can use this extra knowledge to introduce scheme improvements that support our aim of encouraging as many people as possible to take up sustainable transport options. As a B-Corp registered company, we constantly monitor and evaluate our environmental impact and such accurate forecasting can also help us develop ways to further reduce it.”

The first test simulations using Social Digital Twin will be run on the island in May 2023, with a more comprehensive programme to follow over the summer. The island has been chosen due to its geographically isolated location. 

The model will use statistical data, such as the population by area on the Isle of Wight and open data, including weather data of the island, data on movement of people between specific areas of the island (including time of movements), as well as data on the movement of e-scooters provided by Beryl. It will not use personal data.  

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