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Bristol buses pioneer cycle-safety technology

A device that warns bus drivers when cyclists are moving past their blind spot is being tested on one of Bristol’s busiest routes. Bus operator, First West of England is trialing the technology on two of its vehicles that are allocated routes on the Gloucester Road; a high frequency bus corridor that is also used by more than 2,300 cyclists a day. The CycleEye technology has been developed by Bristol engineering company, Fusion Processing Ltd, to reduce the growing number of cyclist collisions and casualties across the country involving large commercial vehicles. It uses radar and camera sensors to identify when the risk for the cyclist is increased due to being in the vehicle’s blind spot, and gives an audible alert to the driver’s cab. The unit, which can operate day or night, in all weather conditions, is fitted to the side of the commercial vehicle and is unique in the way that it only audibly alerts drivers when there is a real danger of a collision with the cyclist. The intelligent system is programmed to ignore other nearby objects, such as bollards, railings or cars, cutting out false alerts, which have been an issue with other cycle safety technologies. It also reduces cognitive overload on the driver, allowing them to respond faster to potentially critical situations.

The CycleEye technology, which fuses the data from radar and camera sensors with proprietary detection algorithms, has been used in a preliminary trial in London that saw the system achieve a 98.5% success rate in identifying cyclists. A universal roof mount system for trucks will be available later in 2014. Jim Hutchinson, CEO of Fusion Processing, commented, “Our technology, which can also be fitted on logistics, construction and waste management vehicles, is a game changer with regards to the safety of cyclists on Britain’s roads. Our technology will allow companies who operate fleets of large passenger vehicles and heavy goods lorries to show a responsible approach to cyclists and help reduce any insurance and legal costs associated with collisions. It is better than other devices people have tried, because it can distinguish between a cyclist and, say, a lamppost. That has been the problem with previous attempts to do this type of system. If the driver is bombarded all the time, they switch it off; or the driver ‘switches off’ themselves.”

June 9, 2014

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