In the hype around getting our cars to drive us around, it’s easy to forget that Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems (ADAS) have a higher function – to radically improve road safety, by reducing the number of accidents.
Recently, this intention has transitioned to ebikes. As our bikes become small (ok, pretty small) data centers on wheels, their ability to monitor our surroundings becomes a catalyst for companies creating technology that provides cyclists with some of the safety insights available in connected cars.
Bike riders are far more vulnerable than their car driving companions, and tech that ebike companies can adapt to suit cyclists can only be a good thing.
ADAS monitoring can provide riders with the ability to gain insights into the unseen. Like what’s behind them and in their blind spots as they ride. These systems can detect, classify and track objects by using advanced computer vision, machine learning algorithms, and deep neural networks.
This leads to an assessment of threats and the level of risk on the road, helping cyclists make riding decisions in real-time. There are currently three leading companies working on a suite of offerings:
Blinc Bike (Terranet)
The company is developing a new class of Rear-View monitoring to keep an eye on the things happening behind the cyclist with a 180 degrees wide view.
Blinc Bike uses two easily attachable and detachable parts. A Rear View Display is placed on the handlebars and a rear light placed underneath the bike seat.
The camera detects, classifies, and tracks objects invisible to a cyclist. It alerts the user either on the front display or through haptic feedback when there is anything that needs immediate attention.
For example, if a car suddenly approaches from behind, the cyclist will receive a warning on the Front Rear View Display mounted on the handlebars and/or through haptic feedback on their choice of a wrist band, leg straps, or bike grips.
This helps the cyclist to avoid making any drastic turns that can cause a collision with the identified object.
A smart tail light will indicate the cyclist’s actions to the upcoming traffic: braking, moving, or stopping.
Founded in 2020, Streetlogic has developed a suite of connected devices to identify and alert riders of vehicles approaching from behind, either side or in front of you – a full 360-degree view. Riders can receive notifications on the heads-up display or audio alerts through a built-in loudspeaker or corresponding app.
The dashcam is always on without charging cameras or replacing SD cards and automatically saves footage of collisions or close calls. These are sent directly to your smartphone.
The company recently raised $2.1 million in pre-seed funding. Customers can preorder Streetlogic’s ADAS with a $30 downpayment. The company intends to start product delivery in late 2022 at a price between $300 to $400.
Holoscene X (Boreal bikes)
German startup Boreal bikes was founded in 2014. It focuses on using cellular networks, sensors, and LPWAN to facilitate Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) communication and increase safety.
The company seems to be operating largely in stealth. There’s not much in terms of details of their upcoming creation, Holoscene X.
Holoscene X is an ebike that uses V2X to deliver “collision avoidance and interactive speed adjustment blind-spot detection, and roadblocks warnings.” It comes equipped with sensors and cameras to enable the bike to monitor, respond to and communicate with surrounding vehicles.
The ebike is embedded with a NVIDIA GPU-powered supercomputer. It’s perfect for devs who cycle.
The company asserts: “With the Holoscene X and its bundled dev tools, you’ll be able to explore, develop, test, integrate and implement tomorrow’s Edge applications today.”
This suggests an interesting bike that would be great for garage hackers.
The company comes with a history for innovation. The founders were previously working on smrtGRiPS, the world’s first connected smart grips in 2015. The bike grips and their corresponding app aimed to facilitate haptic notifications, eyes-free navigation, separation alerts, and bike tracking.
However, they couldn’t raise enough funding to go to market, alas. But their initiative is pretty impressive for relatively early consumer IoT, let alone a connected bike product.
I think they’ll have received some great learnings that the team will reflect in their current work. The release date for Holoscene X is at this date, unknown.