Lime scooters have a software bug that causes them to hurl their riders to the ground

#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/02/24/owner-overrides.html

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#2

Ah, the legendarily truthworthy dependability of mystery electronics bought from and serviced by the lowest bidders.

How do you like them helmets?

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#3

The company claims that fewer than 0.0045% of all rides worldwide have been affected, adding that “any injury is one too many.”

Yes, and 9 incidents per 2000 rides is quite a lot. Denver has 350 Lime scooters. This article assumes 5.5 rides per scooter per day. That adds up to a hair shy of one incident per day in one second-tier American city.

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#4

I think you are a couple of decimal places off, but they are probably grossly under-reporting.

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#5

Well, the solution is the classic USA-ian “sue their asses into the ground for having dysfunctional software that is causing personal injury”.

They’re certainly going to give lip service to the “one injury is too many” phrase, but certainly will not actually stop putting the company before users until it starts to hit them in the pocketbook.

I imagine that there are reputable personal injury firms that would be more than happy to handle the lawsuits.

#6

So it Begins.

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#7

Without helmet it can be also potentially lethal on scooters, and most riders don’t wear helmets.

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#8

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#9

then by design the system will treat attempts by the rider override the immobilization command as an attack…

If you can modify the software while hitting a pothole at top speed, I say you should get a free scooter. Actually, wouldn’t that throw you off the scooter anyway?

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#10

“[I]n very rare cases—usually riding downhill at top speed while hitting a pothole or other obstacle—excessive brake force on the front wheel can occur, resulting in a scooter stopping unexpectedly.”

This happened to a friend of mine. Twice. In a flat-as-a-pancake area.

Luckily neither he nor his son were injured.

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#11

Oh c’mon!
Like no one ever had Lemon-Lime before!

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#12

Disruptive!

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#13

The word usually is doing a lot of work in that sentence. It seems to imply the fault is the driver (“downhil” and “top speed” and also the municipality “pot hole”) rather than the company making money out of unsafe scooters.

And how often out of the accidents is “usually”?

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#14

The “accidents per ride” stat seems intentionally misleading because it’s not comparable to other ways we measure the danger of things. Give us injuries per year per 100,000 users or injuries per billion vehicle km and we can compare to stats for other modes of transit. Based on some big guesses (2.5km per ride from @gelfin’s link, 10% of ‘affected’ rides resulting in injury since it apparently happens mostly at top speed) this bug alone seems to make the scooters 4 or more times and dangerous a driving. That would be added to all other sources of danger from driving a motorized scooter.

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#15

If the scooters were designed only to serve the rider (and not also the company renting it), then safety might well have been a higher priority. But it’s not like they couldn’t have designed it to fail safely and have a remote kill switch. If the kill switch just cut power to the motor and left the scooter in neutral, that wouldn’t have caused this problem (and would be just as effective at preventing theft).

I’d say the immediate problem is not the rent-seeking, but rather the “permanent beta” attitude of VC-funded tech businesses. There’s never a finished product – even if millions of people are riding it around in traffic – it’s always just a demo to attract future investment. You have permission to ignore boring stuff like safety, sustainability and compliance, because that’ll be resolved in the hypothetical final product, made by some other schlub after you cash out.

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#16

Oh, right, the percent. Fuck. That’s what I get for mathing without coffee.

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#17

Is it wrong of me to giggle, thinking of inventing a “Lime stopper” keychain remote that would surround me with a bubble of scooter free pavement as I walk?

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#18

Yes, unless you enjoy being certainly hit with lawsuits once people find out, and possibly criminal charges.

#19

Move fast and break things … like your neck.

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#20

Lemon-Lime and Bitters!