Many newer cars are equipped with active safety technologies and these are considered a key part of future injury prevention. But it nevertheless strikes me as strange to learn that this technology is becoming available as an innovative lightweight device for cyclists wanting to avoid accidents.
Pesaro, Italy, based Byxee have designed a “reliable third eye” for cyclists on the road, saying it will never get tired or distracted, but will continue to scan the road ahead at all time. And when cycling, a good ride can change to a bad one in a matter of seconds.
The company claims hundreds of expert cyclists and bicycle lovers have accidents caused by road hazards, by riding into the sun, tiredness, motorists looking at their phones, or by the thousands of other distractions that can occur in real time. Byxee is a smart safety device that detects hazards on the road to alert the cyclist before they collide.
Its advanced video system checks the road up to 25m ahead. It detects road surface irregularities from about 7cm in size, such as potholes, gratings, bumps, patches, and other hazards. Unexpected moving obstacles can also be detected – for example, cats, balls, a pedestrian, a car door and so on.
Byxee alerts the cyclist beforehand: its unique acoustic signal will alert the rider before she encounters the hazard, so she can make proactive riding adjustments in real time to keep both the bike and herself away from danger. The product is intended for any rider and any bike handlebars and has 28 sensitivity settings for any speed and riding style.
Byxee works by scanning the road ahead. An intelligent software process crops the image to just the road, selects shadows and contrasts differences, and the algorithm calculates what is a hazard, whether they are moving or stationary. This can be drain covers, bumps in the road or potholes starting from 7.5 cm or an animal or person crossing the road, a car door being opened, etc. With the unit scanning 25m ahead, this means that at 30km/h the warning beep would give a cyclist about 3 seconds warning. Usefully, on a long stretch of bumpy surface, the unit will beep at the beginning and the end, but not throughout.
The unit weighs just 70g and has no screen, just relying on acoustic beeps as a warning: 1 beep signifies low danger, 2 and 3 beeps mean medium and high danger respectively. The dimensions are 9.5 x 4.0 x 2.5 cm and battery lasts 30 hours between charges. The water resistant unit has a USB port for charging. There are 7 sensitivity settings and 4 different fields of view settings (i.e. the angle of scan ahead of the bike).
What are your thoughts? It’s not going to protect you from a vehicle coming at you from behind or the side, but could help avoid a tumble. Are you a gadget loving bike rider? If so, Byxee is on crowdfunding site Indiegogo.
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