Daniel McLean, Program Director of the Product Design Unit at the University of South Australia has highly engaged students. A major reason is the pioneering partnership between Beam and his unit called the ‘Future Scooter Lab’.
“This exciting educational initiative is a game changer for our students and we hope for Beam as a micromobility innovator. It offers students hands-on learning aimed at shaping the future of Australia’s micromobility industry to develop the next generation of e-scooters as part of their degrees, so there is definitely a two-way benefit for sure,” Daniel said.
“Working on real projects that can have real-world impact is something that we aim to facilitate for our students, and we are thrilled to be able to work closely with a global company like Beam.”
He says it's fitting that it is in Adelaide, which was one of the first cities in Australia to trial e-scooters.
Spanning two years, the program covers students from the undergraduate Bachelor of Design, Product Design and postgraduate Master of Design (Industrial Design specialisation) Programs at UniSA engaging in research for future vehicle design.
The students then develop their research into a design brief, which they execute using an iterative design process. The final device and system aims to address key tactical issues in the industry and identify future opportunities for growth. Work includes reviewing the physical product as well as the back-end service interface with users such as the Beam app.
“In its simplest form, a key part of it is understanding how e-scooters are used, observing their use and then improving their design,” Daniel said.
As part of Future Scooter Lab, students will receive feedback on their work from Beam’s product and operational teams and have access to aggregated and anonymised Beam trip data and Beam resources, applicable to their research, to ensure real-world relevance to their work. They will build a prototype and demonstrate that to the Beam team.
Beam’s Future Scooter Lab includes:
The shared micromobility industry has progressed quickly since it was first introduced to Australia in 2018, with great advances in geofencing technology, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning that have made it possible for the industry to scale as quickly as it has.
Beam’s General Manager Australia Tom Cooper says as the industry continues to grow, it’s vital that we are able to educate and nurture local talent who will be able to take on the new challenges of micromobility as we work to make an impact on congestion in our cities.
“Beam’s Future Scooter Lab is an opportunity for tertiary students studying relevant subjects such as engineering and industrial design to find out more about a new but rapidly changing industry, and understand the real-world implications that their work will have when they graduate.
“We also learn from the students, just as much as they learn from us, with the students providing insights from their research process that we then incorporate into our operations strategies.”
Daniel McLean says it is particularly exciting for students to work with Beam which has effectively transformed and revolutionised transport with its e-scooters.
“For students to work with a company that is a disruptor to its industry is exciting for them.”
“Recently, we have worked on mobility projects with our students including solar cars and future buses, so the micromobility project with Beam fits nicely with our previous projects, designing how cities of the future can facilitate accessible mobility for all.
Daniel says this partnership ensures UniSA lives up to its reputation as the University of Enterprise in that what we do has ‘real world’ value and impact. And it means students of today will be job ready for roles in micromobility that didn’t exist ten years ago.
“They will definitely start ahead from the valuable work they are participating in now as part of their studies.”