In London’s accident & emergency hospital departments, among some more black-humored staffers, cyclists are colloquially known as ‘organ donors’, or so the story goes. Running the gauntlet of HGV lorries and angry four-wheeled commuters is no joke though. Many urban cyclists in the U.K. capital and elsewhere already arm themselves with helmet cameras with the aim of capturing footage of dangerous driving they encounter on their commute — a quick search for ‘cycle helmet camera‘ brings up some 346,000 results on YouTube.
But strapping on a helmet cam is generally a passive use of the technology with no clear flag for drivers that they are being filmed (unless they specifically know what to look out for). And therefore little chance of positively influencing driving behavior before the bad stuff happens — i.e. by making motorists take more care around cyclists in the first place.
One recent example of a technology startup we covered aiming to do more to flag up cyclists’ presence on the road, and therefore positively influence the behaviour of the vehicles around them, is the laser-light projecting Blaze project — which took part in TC’s CES battlefield back in January. And recently pulled in $500k in seed funding.
Well, here’s another attempt to get drivers to drive better, this time from an Australian startup that’s currently raising funds for its device, the Fly6, on Kickstarter.
The Fly6 is not using projected light to flag up the cyclist’s position to drivers, but is using flashing lights to draw attention to a prominent camera lens incorporated into a bike taillight, to let drivers know they are being filmed and therefore police their behaviour for the better (or so they hope).
The device incorporates an HD camera lens into a red taillight that attaches to the seat post of the bike and has a ring of flashing LEDs that are designed to draw the driver’s eye to the camera lens. The Fly6 philosophy: drivers that know they are being watched behave better.
Whether that ring of lights is a clear enough signal to drivers that the bike ahead of them is effectively a mobile CCTV unit remains to be seen. But the Fly6′s designers have drawn a fair amount of interest on Kickstarter, passing their $95,000 AUS funding goal, with more than $158,000 AUD raised from some 1,110 backers so far and still 20 days left of their campaign to run. Early bird price-pledges have been bagged, with the device now started at $129 AUD, with an estimated shipping schedule of May.
The Fly6 will ship with an 8GB micro SD card, to allow for two hours of continuous recording until a looping function kicks in and overwrites previously recorded footage in 15 minute chunks. If you want to be able to record for longer, a 16GB micro SD card will allow for around fours’ hours; and a 32GB card eight (although that exceeds battery run time). The Fly6′s lithium ion battery is rechargeable via USB and apparently good for 5+ hours of runtime.
Does the Fly6 accurately capture number plates? It can but it’s not guaranteed, say its makers — it’s dependent on road/weather conditions etc. But really, the primary point of the camera is to avoid the need to harvest any number plates by making drivers think twice about cutting up cyclists in the first place.