The Internet of Things (IoT) could soon make cycling a safer, less stressful activity, particularly for those travelling in urban areas.
Fold-up bike manufacturer Brompton is modernising its folding bicycle range by adding IoT functionality, following a successful hackathon last year in partnership with sensor software firm Evrythng.
The bikes could ultimately implement a wide range of IoT solutions, but currently there are plans to trial environmental sensors, crash detectors and alarm systems. The environmental solutions would see the bike collect pollution, temperature and noise data from the surrounding area, with all information streamed to Evrythng’s cloud platform. Ultimately, it could enable cyclists to choose less polluted, quieter routes.
The crash detection solution would generate real-time alerts if other vehicles were getting dangerously close to the bike. And if a collision does occur, IoT sensors would record the impact and, if the cyclist does not confirm their wellbeing in less than two minutes, send an alert to the appropriate emergency contact number.
Finally, there are plans to include a home alarm system as part of Brompton’s IoT offering. The bike includes a motion sensor, which can be activated when the bike is not in use. This could then be used to inform the user of any nearby movement and possibly signal a deterrent, such as turning on home lighting.
Although the IoT solutions are only at the prototype stage, they could evolve into commercial applications later this year. Brompton has already shown itself to be a tech-savvy firm by introducing Raspberry Pi-based sensors onto the factory floor and the company is keen to continue embracing new technological solutions. Company global brand manager Ross Hawkins has stressed that Brompton is always on the lookout for technology that makes its products more useful to consumers.
Consumer-facing IoT solutions are expected to expand significantly over the next few years, with applications surrounding sport, healthcare, home management and many more, so it is hardly surprising that Brompton and a number of other firms are positioning themselves as early adopters.