PMD -Transport Convenience & Controversial
Personal Mobility Devices( E-Scooters, Segways, Hoverboards, Motorized Wheelchairs) are featuring regularly in the news in Singapore. Often its about pedestrians, and their concerns about sharing the pavement with PMDs’ or souped up speedsters racing with motorist,on our highways. Even when stationary and being recharged they attract news worthy action.
The reality is, as more millennials & elderly come to rely on them, we have to co-exist with them. They offer easy, reliable, cost effective transportation ,a means of income to many and are integral for assisting the elderly & disabled.
The use of E-scooters & Bikes are increasing and will continue to rise in the future. The authorities are doing their best regulate the usage of these PMDs’ regulations do have their limits.
PMD -Catching Fire In Apartments
To make the best case would be the recent spate of fires involving PMDs’. It’s been reported that there were 74 cases with 1 fatality and several injuries. The fire damage goes beyond the devices, it results in personal injury , apartment units destroyed , families & neighbors are put at risk, requires civil resources, SCDF (see statistics) .
PMD -Aftermath Of Fire & Cost
The repair , rehabilitation cost, insurance claims, for HDB flat is estimated to be around S$50000- S$100000 per apartment not including the human cost and tragic outcomes.Hence the failure of the PMDs’ to charge properly is staggering.
PMD – Authorities & Regulations
LTA issued rulings on using UL2272 certified e-scooters & bikes .This should help reduce the recurrence of fires, but requires continuous monitoring & enforcement, otherwise things can & will go wrong.The question to ask, how can owners be made aware of the risk of fires.
PMD- Owners & Responsibility
The Owners usually get the blame,In some cases it’s justified, but mostly they too are victims,who suffer the most. They charged their devices from electrical outlet not expecting a electrical fire to break out.We believe that there is a better way of dealing with the fire by putting in place technology safeguards that will address the immediate problems with overcharging & faulty batteries.
Out Of The Box Solutions -IoT Boffins & Coffee
In a recent meeting in Singapore our IoT Boffins from Holland were impressed with the numerous E-scooters on the road. The Dutch are a nation of cyclist with their own issues (1000 or more bicycles might end up in the canals of Amsterdam yearly), so we to compared the e-scooter vs pedal power benefits . We gathered around the coffee machine to discuss the prevalence of electric fires& how it could be mitigated. After several cups comes inspiration! It was agreed that solutions should meet the following requirements;
- Improve On Existing Solution
- Simple Enough to Adopt into existing framework
- Stakeholders must see immediate benefit
- Can be quantified & measured for evaluation
- Affordable enough for most people to buy
Dutch Housing -Batteries In Energy Neutral Homes
Interestingly a solution does exist . The background being most houses in the Netherlands are energy neutral or energy +. They store excess power in Powerwall/Powerpacks in their case think the size of electric cars packs from Tesla or Nissan. These battery packs are subjected to similar charging & discharging cycles . The batteries & chargers are of course designed with better safety features, as added safety requirements the houses too have a automatic power cut off & alarm in case there is potential risk of fires from battery storage.
Smart Technology- A Fire Plan
Now our Boffins excel with these challenges and developed a plug & play solution that’s installed into standard wall plug outlet ,that will monitor the power & heat which are good indicators to detect if devices are malfunctioning. The information is send to a dedicated gateway which is on continuous monitoring mode. The gateway in the event of detecting a problem will automatically;
- Shut the power to the wall socket
- Sound the alarm
- Send notification.
To the best of knowledge there have been no reports of fires breaking out in projects where these systems have been deployed.
IoT – Continue the conversation
The blog is a be starting point for discussion on how new technology can be readily applied to solve critical problems like electrical fires from E-scooter which did not exist just a few short years ago. The solutions are based on our expertise, and without doubt there must be other means to deal with other critical & dangerous issues and we welcome the sharing of information (https://www.iotsolaris.com/iot-community/).
Getting In Touch
We welcome stakeholders to share their views. Contact us to better understand ,evaluate pros & cons of deploying the fire prevention solutions that IoT technology is now able to offer.
Contributed by Arthur