Earlier this summer I looked at a new innovation from the folks at Jaguar Land Rover. They were working on a sensor that fits into the wheel mount of the vehicle that both spots potholes, prepares the vehicle for impact, and then shares the data with the local authority.
The system was developed by both Jaguar Land Rover and Coventry City Council, with a trial undertaken, that if successful will see it rolled out across the company’s brands in due course.
Bringing pothole detection to bicycles
Would the same pothole alert work on a bicycle? That’s the question posed by a new innovation called Byxee. Byxee is a smart device that aims to alert cyclists when a hazard is approaching, including potholes and other such obstacles.
It achieves this by scanning the road ahead of the cyclist before then sending an alert to the rider.
The device itself attaches to your handlebars and then utilizes an intelligent video system to detect hazards such as potholes, cattlegrids and so on from up to 80 feet away.
The system itself analyzes shadows and contrasts that are created by various hazards, before then sending an alert to the rider in the form of an audible beep.
The device is also capable of detecting other potential obstacles, whether that’s an animal wandering in the road, pedestrians stepping into your path or even car doors open. The makers claim that it is smart enough to not trigger an alert when in the company of other cyclists, such as in a group ride.
As is common, the device is currently raising money via Indiegogo, with pre-orders available for $139, with the device due to become available early in 2016.
It’s undoubtedly a very clever piece of equipment, but I do wonder just how useful it is. As a cyclist that covers several thousand kilometers a year, it’s very rare that obstacles creep up on you as a diligent approach to riding is generally sufficient to spot things coming in plenty of time to take appropriate action.
Car doors, for instance, are seldom an issue when they happen 50 meters away, but they certainly are when someone opens their door on you when you’re a few meters away. I’d be surprised if people needed an audible alert to realize they’re in a tight spot in such a situation.
Anyway, check out their promo video below and let me know your thoughts in the comments.