Self balancing scooter industry recently was a huge headache for business people who were in this niche, and especially for consumers who bought these transportation devices for their personal consumption.

Many believe that hoverboard era is over. However, the industry is currently on its way to a full recovery. Here’s why.

Underwriters Laboratories (UL) announced that for the first time they will begin to test and to certify hoverboards. But how are they going to determine which self balancing scooters are safe, and which ones should be considered as hazardous?

UL’s tests will only focus on mechanical and electrical systems of the hoverboards, and not their overall safety. This means that the tests are all about whether device is going to explode or not while charging or riding, rather than if you’ll skin your knee when you fall off. Those self balancing scooters that will pass all the tests, will be given a UL 2272 certification.

Testing includes these activities: dropping the hoverboards from a height of one meter, puncturing batteries with nails, jamming the wheels, and running devices for seven hours straight.

By jamming the wheels, UL says it is checking to see if the device will overheat as it tries to free itself during the seven-hour test. Shooting nails into the scooter’s batteries allow researchers to see if the lithium-ion cell would burst, leading to a fire.

If the device fails any of these tests, it will not receive a UL 2272 certificate. And if devices don’t obtain the certification, the Consumer Product Safety Commission has said it will deem the devices hazardous and defective.

The CPSC “considers self-balancing scooters that do not meet the safety standards referenced above to be defective, and that they may present a substantial product hazard,” the notice states. “Consumers risk serious injury or death if their self-balancing scooters ignite and burn. … Should the staff encounter such products at import, we may seek detention and/or seizure. In addition, if we encounter such products domestically, we may seek a recall of these products.”

The notice, which makes it clear that if companies don’t fallow new safety standards they can face enforcement actions such as seizure of products and civil or criminal penalties, aims to hold device makers accountable for failing to comply with the safety standards.

“From Dec. 1, 2015 through Feb. 17, 2016, the CPSC received reports, from consumers in 24 states of self-balancing scooter fires resulting in over $2 million in property damage, including the destruction of two homes and an automobile,” the notice states. “We believe that many of the reported incidents and the related unreasonable risk of injuries and deaths associated with fires in these products would be prevented if all such products were manufactured in compliance” with UL safety standards.

Since the CPSC’s notice, at least three retailers — Amazon, Target, and Toys ‘R’ Us — have pulled hoverboards from their websites.

Paulius Zeimys

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