Novel Collision-Avoidance System for Bicycles

Principal Investigator:

Rajesh Rajamani, Professor, Mechanical Engineering

Project Summary:

More than 48,000 bicyclist-motorist crashes occur each year in the US. Many of these crashes occur because the motorist either does not see the bicyclist, or the bicyclist behaves in an unpredictable manner. This project is therefore developing and evaluating a sensor suite for a bicycle that can predict imminent bicycle-motorist crashes and provide an audio warning of the bicycle's presence to a motorist by sounding a loud horn. The sensor system utilizes a novel sensor fusion algorithm and a combination of inexpensive sonar and laser sensors. The two types of sensing devices have complementary features that together can provide a robust reliable sensor system for imminent collision prediction. The ability of the sensor system to address rear and side crashes are being evaluated, as these are among the most common maneuvers in bicyclist-motorist crashes. A bicycle instrumented with the required sensors and electronics will be used for extensive experimental evaluation of the developed system. The tests are being conducted with a variety of real cars at real-world intersections close to the University of Minnesota campus. If the system is demonstrated to work reliably and its performance is judged to be effective, it could be commercialized into an inexpensive product sold to bicycle riders, as the barriers to commercialization are low.

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