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Video: The crash avoidance mobile app designed to protect cyclists

Developers are looking to raise funding via Indiegogo

BikeShield is a crash avoidance mobile app which establishes communication between motor vehicles and bikes. When using the app, drivers receive an acoustic signal warning them of the presence of a cyclist, hopefully discouraging potentially dangerous manoeuvres.

The first version of BikeShield is already available, but the developers are looking for further funding via Indiegogo in a bid to expand the software’s reach. As the CEO of Bike Shield, Pere Margalef, told “If it’s not widespread, how is it going to work?”

How does TheBikeShieldApp work? from TDG Company on Vimeo.

The idea is that as you ride, all the cars surrounding you that have the Shield activated will get an acoustic notification 5 to 10 seconds before they can see or hear you. This is all well and good, but how do BikeShield plan on getting their app into people’s cars?

The simple answer is through integrating with other software. They have developed an application programming interface (API) which will allow their bike-to-vehicle (B2V) communication channels to operate within other road apps. That means apps for drivers as well as cyclists – perhaps even within sat-nav systems.

More specifically, they have developed the BikeShield Bus, which is tailored to bus drivers. Margalef says they hope to offer this to cities who may be interested in including BikeShield as part of a bike share scheme. “We will offer a package to cities, for the bike share system, and for buses. Local authorities cannot control the road user, but they have access to the bike share user and the public transportation.”

The new MiBici bike share programme in Guadalajara, Mexico, will incorporate BikeShield as part of its own app and there have also been discussions to implement it in Mexico City, Barcelona and Santiago.

In 2014, Volvo teamed up with POC and mobile communications specialist Ericsson to unveil a prototype offering something similar. In this case, it was wearable technology that could alert cyclists and car drivers to each other’s presence by enabling cars to ‘talk’ to cycle helmets. A year earlier, students in York tested a system that used on-bike transmitters to alert drivers of their proximity. However, the need to fit cyclists (and pedestrians) with tags was seen as a major drawback.

More recently, both Ford and Volvo have been testing collision avoidance systems which would feature automatic braking where there was a danger of hitting an object. However, the Euro New Car Assessment Programme (NCAP) standards will only test them for their ability to avoid pedestrians, not cyclists.

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