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Video: Australian telecoms giant incorporates 5G into cycle helmet

Telstra claims that technology could warn riders of potential hazards such as a car door being opened in their path

Australia’s largest telecommunications company has developed a cycle helmet which incorporates 5G technology to provide real-time safety alerts to riders, including about potential hazards such as being doored.

Telstra, the largest mobile network operator in Australia with around 20 million subscribers, partnered with local cycling start-up business Arenberg to produce the prototype helmet – with cycle helmets of course being compulsory in all of the country’s states and territories.

The company says that growth in cycling as a result of the coronavirus pandemic had prompted it to look at how 5G technology could improve the safety of cyclists, as highlighted in the above video feauturing retired Olympic and world champion track cyclist Anna Meares.

“The helmet prototype features a 5G connection, which passes video, GPS and other data up to a data processing and analytics cloud, and our V2X program which gathers data from connected cars on the roads,” said Gianpaolo Carraro, Telstra’s Incubation and Product Excellence Executive.

https://exchange.telstra.com.au/5g-is-giving-cyclists-the-ability-to-see...

“Our 5G network – which now covers two-thirds of [the] Aussie population – can carry huge amounts of data at incredible speeds, making near real-time communication for vehicle safety possible.

“The bike helmet prototype gathers a range of data, and meshes it together with data gleaned from connected cars around the rider, and connected infrastructure and road cameras around the city.

“This information is then fed to a rider through a speaker in the helmet to provide real-time safety information, alerts and warnings.”

Carraro said that the technology could also be used to predict incidents such as drivers or vehicle passengers opening a car door into the path of a rider.

“It’s more than just giving cyclists eyes in the back of their head: it’s giving them the ability to see around corners where traffic is at a standstill, and even helps them predict the future,” he explained.

“One of the greatest concerns any rider has is being “doored”: where a driver or passenger opens their car door into a bike lane, causing a full-speed collision with a cyclist if not careful. Car doors swinging open can force a rider out of their lane and into the path of another vehicle, where they might not be so lucky.

“When a driver or passenger opens their door, real-time video from the bike helmet is sent over 5G and analysed in a cloud platform, where the opening car door hazard is identified. The platform then pushes down an audio alert to the rider to react it time, thanks to the super low-latency connectivity offered by our 5G network.”

He added: “One life lost on the roads is one life too many. As more and more people take to alternative means of transportation to tackle city congestion, climate change and general fitness, we have to use every piece of technology we can to keep them safe for the future.”

Among criticisms often levelled at companies, often from outside the cycling industry, looking to incorporate technology into products that they claim can improve the safety of cyclists is that there are other tried and tested interventions that can have a quicker and greater impact – such as building safe infrastructure.

Another is that by effectively putting the onus on a cyclist to take measures to ensure their own safety – whether that be through a helmet using 5G, or Volvo’s Life Paint or Ford’s Emoji jacket, some degree of responsibility to ensure rider safety is taken away from motorists, when educating drivers over techniques such as the Dutch Reach to avoid opening a car door into the path of a rider, for example, or to avoid distractions while driving, would have more of a benefit.

Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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22 comments

Avatar
randonneur | 2 years ago
2 likes

I am incensed by the pure ignorance of the designers of this system.  Once again its a system that puts the onus on the cyclist to take action against stuff happening from cars.  Cyclists have enough activities to deal with without an added voice telling them about a car door whilst they are avoiding a pothole.  We have cycle training that tells us to give more room passing parked cars for this very reason.  If you ride a bike its not just cycling with our head in the clouds, the eyes are constantly scanning the possible hazards and having another distraction will lead to more accidents not less.  Typically designed by a motorist.

OK when I started watching the video and I saw the chip being put into a helmet I had high hopes for the obvious solution which would really make a difference.

Today the drivers of todays cars don't see cyclists and traditionally this has been tackled by the cyclist wearing floresant clothing however cyclists are still not being seen.  So many cyclists are now wearing black because its a cool colour and looks good( they think), and additionally motorists don't see you anyway.  The main reason that cars are hitting cyclists is the infotainment systems distracting drivers eyes away from the road in front.  Its known as "death by gadget"

OK so then put a chip in the helmet that the car can detect and avoid.  That way if it works there will never be another accident with a cyclist that has his/her head in a chip.  Just like cars now have autobraking to stop them hitting a wall or the car in front. 

I hope the misguided designers read this because I for one would buy a chip that communicated with modern cars electronic avoidance systems.  I drive too by the way.

BTW - Car manufacturers need to position the car door handle further back so the driver can't open it with his/her right arm- UK version - and therefore the driver has to swivel round to open with his/her left arm thus now be looking behind them to see anything coming.

I would be interested more in a radar system on the back of the helmet to give me the speed of a car approaching from behind and how near it is, this would go somewhere towards the familiar call of "Car Back" from riders behind, and during the Covid19 period when riding alone much more. 

 

 

Avatar
hawkinspeter replied to randonneur | 2 years ago
1 like

I'd much rather they fitted safety systems into the car doors that didn't allow doors to be swung into the paths of other people. Put the detection systems into the cars and have the door refuse to open for 5 seconds if it's dangerous.

Or the car occupants could just look before opening the door.

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Sriracha replied to hawkinspeter | 2 years ago
1 like

I think if car doors just had damped opening it would cut down on doorings. Having a few seconds to notice the door cracking open before it swings fully into your path would oftentimes give you a chance to react. Simple reliable tech.

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hawkinspeter replied to Sriracha | 2 years ago
0 likes

Yes, but it's got to have 5G to get media coverage of the ground-breaking new tech.

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targetdrone | 2 years ago
0 likes

So, well into a multi-year semiconductor shortage, someone came up with this? Put chips in lids. Must have heard of Pirelli's new chips in tyres lark.

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ktache | 2 years ago
5 likes

But won't everyone wearing these get Covid...

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TheBillder | 2 years ago
7 likes

Why not use 5G and the Blockchain and some AI to stop car doors from opening until the driver has certified that they've conducted a full risk assessment, the car's 3d video has checked the surrounding area, the door user has been appropriately attired in hi vis and helmet, and insurance cover has been verified?

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grumpyoldcyclist | 2 years ago
10 likes

You don't need a 5g helmet, you need rear facing cameras on cars that will disable the inside door handles if a cyclist is detected approaching the vehicle.

Job done

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Sriracha replied to grumpyoldcyclist | 2 years ago
3 likes

Toilet seat hinges, that's what's needed. Installed backwards so the door is slow to open, quick to close. Most cyclists are highly attuned to a car door cracked ajar and will be able at least to scream blue murder and/or take evasive action before the dullard in the car succeeds in killing them.

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RoubaixCube | 2 years ago
9 likes

"Technology has been making cars safer for years, why not cycling??"

Have they been in one of the new mercedes, audis. bmws or VWs?? All of the new cars are sporting large screens and smaller sceens where they can be crammed in. Some cars have more screens than others and tbh while there is a cool factor behind it, It can also be bloody distracting.

So no it doesnt exactly make it safer. But its safer for the driver and their passengers because of crumple zones & more airbags

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eburtthebike replied to RoubaixCube | 2 years ago
4 likes
RoubaixCube wrote:

"Technology has been making cars safer for years, why not cycling??"

So no it doesnt exactly make it safer. But its safer for the driver and their passengers because of crumple zones & more airbags

Which is exactly what happened when seat belts were made a legal requirement; car passengers died less frequently, but pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists died more frequently.  It's been said many times, to make the roads safe, we need drivers to fear for their safety, not to be coccooned in a cosy, safe, distracting shell isolated from real life.  We're going the wrong way with seat belts, crumple zones, air bags, huge A pillars which just transfer the risk to those outside the car.

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Rendel Harris replied to eburtthebike | 2 years ago
0 likes
eburtthebike wrote:

Which is exactly what happened when seat belts were made a legal requirement; car passengers died less frequently, but pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists died more frequently.  It's been said many times, to make the roads safe, we need drivers to fear for their safety, not to be coccooned in a cosy, safe, distracting shell isolated from real life.  We're going the wrong way with seat belts, crumple zones, air bags, huge A pillars which just transfer the risk to those outside the car.

Evidence that pedestrian/biker/cyclist deaths increased from 1983 onwards please? I can only find stats showing a steady decline in road deaths from all causes.

Are you seriously advocating the repeal of seatbelt laws?

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Captain Badger replied to Rendel Harris | 2 years ago
2 likes
Rendel Harris wrote:
eburtthebike wrote:

Which is exactly what happened when seat belts were made a legal requirement; car passengers died less frequently, but pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists died more frequently.  It's been said many times, to make the roads safe, we need drivers to fear for their safety, not to be coccooned in a cosy, safe, distracting shell isolated from real life.  We're going the wrong way with seat belts, crumple zones, air bags, huge A pillars which just transfer the risk to those outside the car.

Evidence that pedestrian/biker/cyclist deaths increased from 1983 onwards please? I can only find stats showing a steady decline in road deaths from all causes.

Are you seriously advocating the repeal of seatbelt laws?

I think I read that road deaths of vulnerable road users have reduced as they have been pushed away from using the public highway.

There is also risk compensation - the "safer" vehicles get, the more risky behaviour is exhibited by drivers. As the vehicles have lots of 1st party safety features, but few 3rd party safety features, the casualties are displaced from in the vehicle to outside the vehicle.

All qualitative I'm afraid, would have to root the articles out for citation

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matthewn5 replied to Rendel Harris | 2 years ago
0 likes

While it's a bit old now, Robert Davis's (1993) 'Death on the Streets' researched this in detail. His conclusions were unequivocal and prompted the formation of the Road Danger Reduction Forum:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Death-Streets-Cars-Mythology-Safety/dp/0948135468

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makadu | 2 years ago
2 likes

Thats what you get when the marketing department don't talk to the engineers

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Carior | 2 years ago
8 likes

Oh great - so now its even our fault if we get doored because we either a) were only wearing a normal helmet not a Telstra 5G helmet; b) even if we are wearing a Telstra helmet it'll be our fault for not reacting quickly enough.

What will they think of next? A helmet and that detects pressure and warns you you're being in the process of being crushed by a truck?  Rather than wasting money and effort trying to make cyclists safe with technological gimmics it would be better if this money and effort was spent on educating drivers to be less shit and on safe infrastructure!

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wtjs | 2 years ago
5 likes

I can't allow myself to write anything appropriately condemnatory, so I'll confine myself to 'complete piffle'.

we have to use every piece of technology we can to keep them safe for the future

No we don't- we have to use every means to do something about Australian drivers and Australian police (I'm assuming they're just as cyclist-hostile as Lancashire drivers and Lancashire police).

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eburtthebike | 2 years ago
0 likes

One of the reasons I go cycling is to get away from all that crap that infests our homes; the last thing I want to do is take it with me.

"...with cycle helmets of course being compulsory in all of the country’s states and territories."  I thought some of them had withdrawn or watered down their helmet laws?

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Secret_squirrel | 2 years ago
9 likes

“When a driver or passenger opens their door, real-time video from the bike helmet is sent over 5G and analysed in a cloud platform, where the opening car door hazard is identified. The platform then pushes down an audio alert to the rider to react it time, thanks to the super low-latency connectivity offered by our 5G network.”

Utter bullshit.  Even supposiing they can identify a door opening reliably using ML/AI (hint they cant) the premise that a cloud based solution will be faster than the reflexes of even a below average cylist, who has working eyes, is completely unbelievable.  If the door is around the corner - the chances of ML/AI being able to succesfully workout that the cyclist is going to turn the corner is equally implausible.

I'd believe that Vaccines can control us via 5g before I'd believe this utter utter shite.

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Philh68 replied to Secret_squirrel | 2 years ago
6 likes

A helmet cam is as daft as it gets, the camera will point wherever the wearer is looking so what's it going to do if you're not looking at the hazard? Better that this kind of tech is on the bike where it can a) be powered by the bike's motion, b) will track objects according to the bike's movement and direction not where the rider is looking, c) is not dependent on the rider wearing the helmet or keeping it charged and d) means v2x can know it is a bicycle not a skateboarder or scooter and instruct drivers appropriately.

I see nothing there that would warn me about the driver behind me choosing to drive through the red light I've stopped for, or a 2L juice bottle being hurled out of a passing car, or prevent being left hooked by a driver that just does not care. I've had to rely on instinct and experience for 40 years, this doesn't change that one iota.

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Carior replied to Philh68 | 2 years ago
1 like

Damn right - I had at least thought that what they'd have been talking about here would be 5G communication between car and helmet so that when the driver starts to pull the handle a) a beep goes to cyclist in proximity indicating door is opening; and b) (more importantly) a beep/ warning goes to motorist indicating that cyclist is incoming - I thought the whole point of 5G was to enable precisely that type of communication so that this is simply "send a video and we'll let you know you're about to be knocked off" seems like a terrible advert for the technology!

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wycombewheeler replied to Carior | 2 years ago
0 likes
Carior wrote:

Damn right - I had at least thought that what they'd have been talking about here would be 5G communication between car and helmet so that when the driver starts to pull the handle a) a beep goes to cyclist in proximity indicating door is opening; and b) (more importantly) a beep/ warning goes to motorist indicating that cyclist is incoming - I thought the whole point of 5G was to enable precisely that type of communication so that this is simply "send a video and we'll let you know you're about to be knocked off" seems like a terrible advert for the technology!

with communication and processing times it's probably more like "send a video and we'll let you know what hit you/what you just avoided"

Meanwhile drivers will be saying "didn't your helmet war you about the opening door?"

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