Aussie company kickstarts combined rear light & camera at bargain price

Rear-facing cam records driver misbehaviour you can't see yet

by John Stevenson   February 10, 2014  

Fly6 1.png

New Australian company Fly Lites is looking for AU$95,000 (just over £50,000) to fund an idea it hopes will be a “game changer”: a combined rear light and video camera, dubbed Fly6.

“As motorists become aware they could be recorded, they behave appropriately just as they do when they see traffic or speed cameras are ahead,” says Fly Lites CEO, Andrew Hagen.

But traditional action cameras aren’t cheap, and cyclists have tended to point them forward where they are effective in recording confrontations with motorists, but not always as useful for gathering evidence against a driver who does something stupid and then drives away.

In the accompanying video, Fly6 co-creator Kingsley Fiegert tells how he was shot with a slingshot by a car passenger. In considerable pain and struggling to stay on his bike, he didn’t get the car’s number plate.

Kingsley and Andrew’s answer is a rear-facing camera built into a bright rear LED light with a retail price of AU$169 (£92).

Andrew explains that he thinks the functions and low price are what make it a “game changer”.

He says: “[It’s] a device that cyclists of all persuasions, can afford to buy at $169(AUD) as well as it appearing as if just a tail-light. Making it easy to use, intuitive (given it is already a tail-light), affordable and cyclist friendly (long battery life & protected from the elements by nano-technology) it will be widely taken up. This wide spread use will soon find motorists being held to task for altercations with cyclists.

“Media will love the video footage of incidents and run stories which will lead to more motorists becoming aware they are likely to be recorded by cyclists. They will behave accordingly, giving more space & respect to the cyclist on the road when they know they are being recorded.”

Features of the Fly6 include:

  • 5hr + battery life recording in high definition as well as audio.
  • Loop recording for ‘set and forget’ use and incident protection technology.
  • Ships with an 8GB microSD card and is ready to use out of the box.
  • Nano technology, rendering the device hydrophobic (repels water).

Over on Kickstarter, you can reserve a Fly6 by pledging AU$119 plus $15 for shipping outside Australia.

Here’s what Kingsley and Andrew have to say about it:

And here's their TV 'ad' for it:

We think this is the first rear-facing camdera to be combined with a rear light, but Cerevellum Hindsight provides a rear view from the handlebars as well as recording whjat's happening.

30 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

Nice product idea - but i figure car drivers will not see the thing as a camera, just as a bike-light.
(so in terms of prevention it wouldn't do much for you, it would be of great for footage after an incident, i think i'll just go for good lighting)

posted by KnightBiker [53 posts]
10th February 2014 - 16:24

33 Likes

I dont think I want to see! Worried

fancynancy's picture

posted by fancynancy [77 posts]
10th February 2014 - 16:28

29 Likes

If they add a speed display, artisan beer holder and make it from ethically recycled bamboo then it has all the ingredients for kickstarter success.

joemmo's picture

posted by joemmo [1094 posts]
10th February 2014 - 16:51

35 Likes

Every one of their videos is filmed during the day. When do you mainly have a light on...

I want to see how it looks at night, I bet its crap and that's why there are no videos, all you will pick up is the flashing red light.

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [9355 posts]
10th February 2014 - 17:02

33 Likes

KnightBiker wrote:
Nice product idea - but i figure car drivers will not see the thing as a camera, just as a bike-light.
(so in terms of prevention it wouldn't do much for you, it would be of great for footage after an incident, i think i'll just go for good lighting)

True, but if car drivers don't know who has cameras and who has not they might er on the safe side?

Just need to get the police to accept camera evidence!

mrmo's picture

posted by mrmo [1864 posts]
10th February 2014 - 17:09

26 Likes

This is not a bad idea, but I think that rather than compare the camera to a GoPro, it would make more sense to compare it to one of the many "keyfob" video cameras (available for about £20 on eBay).

While they have their issues (difficult configuration, lack of weatherproofing) the basic operation and video recorded is perfectly adequate for this usage.

Considering they are already sold at a profit, it should be possible to source similar vidcams-on-chips for even less, and build both front and rear cameralights to sell for less than £100.

I think GoPro has had the "actioncam" market to itself long enough, BTW. I've got one and while the video is fine, the ergonomics are pretty awful. Bring on the competition (Garmin, Shimano, etc.)

Ride your own ride

posted by CanAmSteve [227 posts]
10th February 2014 - 17:16

26 Likes

The media would undoubtedly love the video footage. But until Police start to prosecute bad drivers properly, no-one will care and they'll all just end up on You've Been Framed.

Boardman CX Team '14 | Cannondale CAAD8 '12 (written off, SMIDSY) | Scott Sportster '08

Gizmo_'s picture

posted by Gizmo_ [1222 posts]
10th February 2014 - 17:25

52 Likes

I think powering both the light and the camera from the battery is a terrible idea. They quote 5 hours, but in my experience cameras rarely live up to the manufacturer's expectations, and as soon as it's out of juice you've lost both the camera and the rear light.

posted by thelimopit [124 posts]
10th February 2014 - 17:47

27 Likes

mrmo wrote:
Just need to get the police to accept camera evidence!

All that should be needed for that is a 'Standard' for all personal surveillance equipment.

posted by Initialised [259 posts]
10th February 2014 - 19:23

36 Likes

Really sucks that cyclists are required to carry cameras on the roads these days

posted by jarredscycling [457 posts]
10th February 2014 - 21:15

27 Likes

What we need is webcams mounted on bikes with 3G capability and add GPS to that as well. You leave your bike somewhere, it gets stolen but your web cam is on and streaming to a server that records the stream for a period of time - say 24 hours. You get evidence of whoever nicked it and you get GPS coordinates streamed along with it.

In fact a GPS receiver with a 3G connection to upload your bikes position every minute would suffice. Needs to be mostly concealed with a large enough battery so inside the seatpost for everything but the GPS and 3G antenna, would be ideal.

Who want to crowd fund me for that?

posted by earth [201 posts]
10th February 2014 - 22:42

34 Likes

HI guys and thanks for your comments & questions! I will try and address them here.

We believe that motorists will become aware that cameras are out there via the media (not by the light/camera itself). An example is where an aggressive driver harassed a group of cyclists (one with a Fly6). The video went viral (locally to Brisbane, Australia) and the police took hold of it, interviewed the cyclists and were taking it up with the motorist directly. Ultimately the news media picked up the story and was on the nightly news that night (http://bcove.me/4lz78hdi). This is the awareness that Fly6 can create which should lead to a safer environment for cyclists & motorists.

Fly6 has a normal camera that requires light to capture imagery. It is not an infra red camera so where there is no light there is no footage. An infra red camera would similarly be ineffective during the day. Many people use their lights during the day and should do to increase visibility (although we have an off function for those that don't want to). Most riding is done during the day (why you see most of the footage during day). Of course commuters often ride through daylight, low light and night conditions where Fly6 will work well as a light for all those conditions and as a camera for day and low light situations (see low light example video here http://vimeo.com/85642890) where the footage is fantastic.

The battery life is not just what is written in the manual - we have 150 units with cyclists at the moment and they are getting over 5 hours by default with both the camera and the lights working (longer if you turn the lights off!). Making the device, last 5 hours, have very steady footage, weather proof, HD & audio, incident protection (in case of an accident), aerodynamicly located behind the seat post, just over 100grams and looping constantly for set & forget ease of use are all features that cyclists need. Sure GoPro has higher definition footage and a 'keyfob' is inexpensive but neither of them can deliver the features a keen cyclist needs (although we need to start designing the beer holder!).

Hope that answers all your queries and happy to answer more if you have any! We are a small company (two of us) and have tried our best to bring all these features into a small enough device that is what we believe affordable and easy to use. We are open to other ideas and suggestions so please keep them coming! Our website (www.fly6.com) has plenty more resources if you want more details.

Sorry for the long winded response and thanks for being interested in Fly6.

posted by Andrew Hagen [5 posts]
11th February 2014 - 6:11

27 Likes

Nice vid,but here in the UK. Your definition of low light and mine differs Wink

posted by Elcustardo [8 posts]
11th February 2014 - 6:28

27 Likes

'that's why there are no videos, all you will pick up is the flashing red light.'

*yet* another reason to put your lights on constant mode...

posted by andyp [1368 posts]
11th February 2014 - 9:48

25 Likes

Elcustardo wrote:
Your definition of low light and mine differs Wink

Up in Manchester we had to put sun screen on just to watch that video..

posted by farrell [1912 posts]
11th February 2014 - 10:01

34 Likes

@ jarredscycling There are several units that do what you want - there's a £100 device that comes in two models - one replaces the headset cap (and it's quite large, so the cap retainer/nut must be relocated lower, I expect) and the other is a functioning rear lamp with a tracker built in. Two years ago at the NEC show, a UK firm had a seatpost mounted device - similar function but much longer battery life, better tracking but a monthly subscription required. (I see the 1st company is planning to offer a seatpost device as well).

http://www.integratedtrackers.com/GPSTrack/Products.jsp

And there are plenty of tiny GPS trackers that have a self-contained battery. You put in a PAYG sim card and tuck them somewhere (under the seat most likely) and they text their location to you when you "ping" them. This one is motion sensitive

http://dx.com/p/v5-multi-function-gsm-anti-theft-tracker-silver-146659

but if you do a search you'll find many options

Ride your own ride

posted by CanAmSteve [227 posts]
11th February 2014 - 10:28

24 Likes

The key fobs aren't waterproof and having bought one, I used it for a few weeks and found it just died after 10 miles or so, and a GoPro is too clunky and expensive for commuting.
Your one is waterproofed with a decent battery life, and is combined with a back light so it's a different ball game - I think it's a great idea and it's good to see people developing new and practical cameras for cyclists.
Have you thought of doing a version that is just the camera without the light, so it could be mounted anywhere and would be suitable for people using a different rear light (e.g. because they've got a short seatpost / don't want a camera hanging off the back of their saddlebag etc.)?

posted by Jon [35 posts]
11th February 2014 - 10:57

25 Likes

Hope you have some UK testers for the great British weather, looks good a little pricey still but great for hill climbs if your the fastest Smile

posted by ricey155 [7 posts]
11th February 2014 - 11:50

20 Likes

There's a more in depth review of this here:

http://www.dcrainmaker.com/2014/02/fly6-hd-camera-light.html

Including some actual night footage if anyone's interested

posted by pirnie [216 posts]
11th February 2014 - 13:47

22 Likes

Hi Steve - we have thought about it but won't be playing in that space. With some research you will find there are many 'just camera' devices following in the footsteps of GoPro. We are working on a front solution tho!!

posted by Andrew Hagen [5 posts]
11th February 2014 - 14:14

14 Likes

Hi Jon - we have had heaps of backers on Kickstarter from the UK (thanks guys!). They will arrive in time for summer (from my 3 years living there, there will be plenty of opportunity to 'weather test' Fly6!

posted by Andrew Hagen [5 posts]
11th February 2014 - 14:16

18 Likes

The glare from the light is annoying, can't the shape of the plastic around the camera be changed to avoid this? Why is there a bunch of LEDs around the camera lens anyway Thinking - ditch them.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qux8wkc26tE

What angle FOV does it have?

posted by kie7077 [756 posts]
11th February 2014 - 16:38

23 Likes

Yes this is all very good but it does seem to take up a lot of space under the seat. If you have a seat bag you might obscure the camera.

What I really want for Christmas is a central unit, preferably mounted on the frame using a spare bottle position, capable of taking feeds from at least two camera units.

The main benefit of this arrangement is that the expensive gubbins would be mounted in a protected position, centrally on the frame and your camera units can then be small, unobtrusive, cheap, waterproof/sealed and essentially sacrificial. Another benefit would be that as the central unit is mounted centrally a larger battery could be used.

You're all going to shout at me that one already exists, arn't you! If it does give me the details please.

posted by levermonkey [604 posts]
11th February 2014 - 17:56

14 Likes

Nice idea - but two flashing options on the light, and - apparently - no steady mode? For any sort of group riding that is no-no. In fact some events (PBP for example) ban use of flashing lights altogether.
Not for me on that basis.

posted by PpPete [17 posts]
11th February 2014 - 21:03

17 Likes

For most people this is a simply brilliant idea no pun intended. I think it will we a great assist in the drive to make drivers more bike aware. The simple fact that a cyclist's rear light could contain a camera will be a deterrent to those drivers looking to make mischief or act carelessly. Let's get this funded and launched.

thepocpac's picture

posted by thepocpac [12 posts]
11th February 2014 - 22:32

16 Likes

Interesting concept. I like the waterproof coating.

Seems to me that it would be even better if the flashing were with white LED and it was mounted instead to a brake caliper with a cable tie-in to give it the ability to operate as a brake light.

I've seen these in the past, but they never caught on. Probably in part at least to hydraulics, but certainly most road bikes are not using hydraulic brakes at this point.

It's not very complicated to add and if they used plastic for the brake tie-in, it would only add 10 grams or so.

Obviously the biggest problem here is that most dangerous collisions don't come from the back, but the side or the front, but those that do happen from the back often happen with changes of speed.

I've been shot with a slingshot for no reason before (walking along the street, kids just playing at being jerks), but the more cyclists do to demonstrate that they are responsible and have a right to coexist in traffic, the better things will get.

posted by eschelar [46 posts]
12th February 2014 - 10:44

17 Likes

The test of this camera is can you read number plates on cars, at night, and not just the ones right behind the bike.

This guy does great camera reviews:
http://www.youtube.com/user/Techmoan/videos

This $99 cam has a great sensor:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xnHDu-oW7_Y
It uses High-Dynamic-Range, any good cycle cam needs to have something like this.

If it's not 1080p then it's out of date already, action cams will be 4k before you know it.

5 hours is great for a cam's battery life, even 4 would be very acceptable (is the battery replaceable for longer rides?).

Will a seatpost mud-guard fit underneath it? And hydrophobic - will it still be working after a weeks cycling through London, we've just had our wettest January on record.

Does it detach easily for recharging?

What I'd really like to see is some night-time video footage of a car driving too close behind the bike / doing a close overtake like what happens to me regularly - this is the kind of footage I want to catch. Remember in the UK and other places this far north we travel to/from work in darkness for several months of the year.

[edit]
I'm might be asking for too much here, I do really like the idea of light + cam, I've always wanted a rear cam on the bike but never figured out where to attach one that could then be easily detached again. Better spec version could come later, with 4k becoming the new HD, the prices should drop rapidly for 1080p.

But it's still worth visiting the Techmoan channel - he and his viewers give a great idea of what is wanted from a good cam, the light bit is easy - one high power red led, 2 settings - flash/constant and don't make the flash go at strobe speed - those should be banned.

posted by kie7077 [756 posts]
12th February 2014 - 12:47

15 Likes

Seems to me that it would be even better if the flashing were with white LED and it was mounted instead to a brake caliper with a cable tie-in to give it the ability to operate as a brake light.

I had a look about and found this:
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/301087930269

No wires or wireless needed because it works with a g-sensor, brilliant idea, I thought I'd grab one and try it out.

posted by kie7077 [756 posts]
12th February 2014 - 13:29

22 Likes

Just a query about the kickstarter/crowdfunding concept. If the whole amount isn't raised and production doesn't start, do contributors get their money back? I'm very interested in this, but don't fancy burning £100 for nothing.

carlosjenno's picture

posted by carlosjenno [43 posts]
14th February 2014 - 9:08

15 Likes

carlosjenno wrote:
Just a query about the kickstarter/crowdfunding concept. If the whole amount isn't raised and production doesn't start, do contributors get their money back? I'm very interested in this, but don't fancy burning £100 for nothing.

You give card details but your money isn't taken until the target amount is reached.

Your money is still at risk, the Project could heave been badly designed, there is always a chance you won't get the product / reward (I mean this in general regarding kickstarter projects)..

But that is in general, I don't think there will be a problem with the bike light/camera, they have already made a large number of prototypes which have been tested and the initial funding goal has been surpassed.

And it currently works out at $129+$15 = $144 = £77.83, but the pound is very strong right now and it could easily cost a tenner more by the time they take the money.

posted by kie7077 [756 posts]
14th February 2014 - 10:46

15 Likes