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posted by janrinok on Tuesday July 09, @06:25PM   Printer-friendly
from the pie-in-the-sky,-or-? dept.

A radar system can indicate when another motorist is close to your vehicle, but what if it gave you more information—like, a warning of sketchy driving behaviors? A US-based startup is building such a system for bicyclists, but Survue's new technology might also have an application for motorcyclists.

Electro-safety systems are the latest add-on that motorcycle OEMs are pioneering, having reached the practical limits of power and braking. These days, the action is all in the world of adaptive cruise control systems, which are governed by radar sensors. These smart systems can keep you following another vehicle at a constant distance in traffic, and they can also warn you that someone is approaching quickly from behind.

Survue's technology takes this idea a step further. Rear-facing radar systems have been available for bicyclists for years, but they can't interpret the information they collect. Survue's system uses AI (or so they call it) to analyze the data taken in by its sensors, and then their on-bike gadgetry can inform the rider of an impending dangerous situation—a too-close pass or a rear-end collision—and it can also flash a brake light brightly, to alert a distracted driver of an impending crash.

Survue says it works this way:

Videos of collisions from behind and close passing vehicles are recorded using the predicted vehicle course rather than accelerometers. This reduces false positives and endless sifting of video data. Survue is the only taillight that automatically records close passing vehicles ... Cyclists receive alerts based upon approaching vehicle speed, direction, and vehicle type rather than just the speed.

Their assembly on the back of the bike has a brake light that flashes for the benefit of following motorists, as well as an onboard speaker that emits a tone to alert the rider of the situatuion. Their device also connects to an app which can give audio or visual cues, so the rider isn't startled.

Sifting through their Kickstarter campaign here, you can see how the technology is designed for bicyclists, but could definitely be adapted for motorcyclists. No doubt some of the big OEMs are already working on similar tech, and if not, once they see this they will be.

So, AI again. Almost certainly overhyped - but - cyclists (whether bicycles or motorcycles) need all the help they can get in traffic. I mean, sure, I know there's a car behind me, but I can't spend all my time studying how that car is driven. An "AI" that is constantly analyzing the traffic flow could save my arse. OK, so maybe it doesn't save me, but at least it documents that the driver rear ended me. It should even record the license plate number, in states/provinces that have a front license plate.

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  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by captain normal on Tuesday July 09, @08:19PM (3 children)

    by captain normal (2205) on Tuesday July 09, @08:19PM (#1363582)

    " ...but what if it gave you more information—like, a warning of sketchy driving behaviors?"
    Instead of trying to protect errant bicyclist with radar, I think other people on the road need a warning system to detect bicycles and motorcycles that ignore traffic laws.
    Everyday, here in coastal central California, I have dodge or evade bicyclists blowing through stop signs and red lights, riding on the wrong side of the street, making improper turns with no hint of a signal and using crosswalks instead of the bike lane.

    "If men were angels, government would not be necessary." James Madison
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 09, @08:50PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 09, @08:50PM (#1363584)

      You forgot the idiots riding the wrong way at night with no lights and dark clothing.

      • (Score: 3, Touché) by janrinok on Tuesday July 09, @10:02PM

        by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday July 09, @10:02PM (#1363591) Journal

        I let Darwin decide in such cases. If I can avoid them then of course I will do so, but otherwise the problem does tend to resolve itself.

        I am not interested in knowing who people are or where they live. My interest starts and stops at our servers.
    • (Score: 2, Troll) by aafcac on Tuesday July 09, @10:23PM

      by aafcac (17646) on Tuesday July 09, @10:23PM (#1363595)

      The issue with this is that it kind of misses that point. Being aware of something behind you is far less useful if you don't have any means of responding to it. A motorcycle, or car, with this sort of thing makes some sense as these are vehicles that are capable of keeping up with traffic, which means things may be in our blind spot for longer. There's also an engine that's generally capable of speeding out of the way, and brakes that can scrub speed rather quickly as well if need be. A bike can't do much of anything in response.

      They'd be better off developing tech to make bikes more visible to cars or better maps to allow cyclists to find streets that are less risky.

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by darkfeline on Wednesday July 10, @03:35AM (1 child)

    by darkfeline (1030) on Wednesday July 10, @03:35AM (#1363610) Homepage

    So, what's the point of this? Presumably you are constantly paying attention to your surroundings? Or are we admitting that cyclists aren't paying attention to their surroundings and blithely paddling through streets, stop signs, sidewalks, etc.

    With cars, there's the excuse of the structural elements blocking your vision and hearing, but you have total visual and aural awareness on a bike.

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    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Ingar on Wednesday July 10, @08:43AM

      by Ingar (801) on Wednesday July 10, @08:43AM (#1363625) Homepage Journal

      I commute by bike, all year round, through rain, snow and searing sunshine.

      For your own safety, you want your awareness tuned to the maximum, but it still isn't enough. I still don't have eyes in my back and an issue for example is them cyclo-terrorists (think Tour de France)
      sneaking up behind me and then overtaking without warning. More than once I have been startled and could barely avoid a collision. Aural awareness is nice on a quite road, where you can
      hear cars approaching from miles away, but once you're driving busy main roads, there's so much cabal that aural awareness becomes next to useless. I don't even notice a car honking anymore.

      The fun part is where my trip takes me through a tunnel: more then once I had an ambulance with blaring sirens driving by, with ringing ears for the rest of the day as a result.

      And then we have yet to talk about the darkness of winter, and the fun blinding effects of headlights.

      Now the question becomes "Would I trust an AI-powered danger detector WITH MY LIFE".
      That's a sounding NO.

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by quietus on Wednesday July 10, @02:42PM (2 children)

    by quietus (6328) on Wednesday July 10, @02:42PM (#1363654) Journal

    I do not think there's much use for a radar detector on the back of your bike: if someone is determined to drive you off the road, they'll do so.

    But there is an interesting application for radar on the front. High-end bikes these days use bluetooth to pass commands to your (electric) shifting gear. I can imagine an application where the radar/lidar on the front detects holes, ridges and branches in front of you, and automatically adapts the modulation of your suspension.

    • (Score: 2) by aafcac on Wednesday July 10, @04:39PM (1 child)

      by aafcac (17646) on Wednesday July 10, @04:39PM (#1363664)

      Where radar could potentially be useful would be in signalling to cars behind you that they're getting closer than they realize. But, with road raging drivers, I'm not sure how useful that would be.

      • (Score: 2) by acid andy on Thursday July 11, @11:23PM

        by acid andy (1683) on Thursday July 11, @11:23PM (#1363835) Homepage Journal

        Yeah it's the age old problem that the ones that need to pay attention to it, are the ones that won't. It's a bit like the basic health and safety warnings on product packaging. The ones that wouldn't find such information obvious, likely won't read it anyway.

        Consumerism is poison.