By Clark Haynes, Ph.D.
Founder and CEO
As a lifelong bike commuter, safety has always been my primary concern whenever I embark on two wheels. This concern is grounded in a harsh reality: nearly 1000 bicyclists lose their lives each year in the United States due to collisions with vehicles, and this number has surged in the most recent decade. While dedicated, protected, safe routes for bicyclists are the ideal solution, the reality is that bikes and vehicles need to exist in a shared space each and every day.
As a technologist, having spent large parts of my career working on autonomous vehicles, for example, building algorithms and neural networks to detect and predict safety concerns in traffic scenarios, what I really wanted was a safety-critical system for my bike, constantly watching out for dangers and alerting me, as well as nearby drivers, as necessary.
“We strongly believe that there is a coming revolution in not only bicyclist tech, but more importantly, bicyclist safety via tech.”
This is exactly what we’ve been developing at velo.ai. Our first product, Copilot, is an all-in-one bike light safety device that watches and records the behavior of nearby vehicles. Unlike commercial bike radars that simply alert a cyclist when there are approaching vehicles, our technology accurately differentiates between the vehicles that will safely pass a cyclist with sufficient clearance from those that will not. With high lumen flashing lights (aimed at the driver) and a 90 dB alarm (for both rider and driver), the device provides alerts if there are safety concerns. And whereas bike radars are typically less useful in city traffic, due to excessive false positive alerts from nearby vehicles, we’ve been actively building and testing our tech to ensure it works just as well in urban scenarios.
Developing a hardware product, especially one from scratch, is a huge undertaking. We’ve custom designed almost all of our system’s components and we have integrated special purpose AI chips, capable of processing all of our sensor information, all the while designing systems to be manufactured at scale. We strongly believe that there is a coming revolution in not only bicyclist tech, but more importantly, bicyclist safety via tech.
“By embracing the power of technology and fostering collaboration, we can revolutionize the coexistence of bicycles and vehicles.”
We’re not solely focused on the present; we’re also building toward the future. At velo.ai, we’re excited by the potential of integrating our systems with C-V2X solutions, leveraging the highly accurate telemetry data from our safety devices (far better than a cellphone GPS, for example), while providing a critical path to share vulnerable road user location data with nearby vehicles.
By embracing the power of technology and fostering collaboration, we can revolutionize the coexistence of bicycles and vehicles. At velo.ai, we believe in creating a safer transportation ecosystem that benefits all forms of mobility and using tech to do so. We look forward to having you join us on our ride toward safer streets.
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