IN AN INNOVATIVE Internet of Things project, cyclists in Manchester are collecting information about the city using Internet-connected bike lights.
Sensors on the lights of 180 cyclists connect via Bluetooth to an app on Android phones. The app in turn transmits anonymised data on the cyclist’s environment – including light levels, the quality of the road surface, collisions and near-miss events – back to an IoT data hub.
The project is part of Manchester’s CityVerve, the UK’s smart city demonstrator and is being run by BT and an innovative cycling company from Northern Ireland called See.Sense.
Many thousands of IoT data feeds are collated by the BT hub and presented in a uniform way for innovators and city planners working with CityVerve. By acting as an information broker, the hub lowers the barrier to participation in the IoT ecosystem. Easy access to the data will help developers turn innovative ideas into applications in many areas, including planning ways to improve cycling infrastructure, and creating policies to promote cycling in the city.
See.Sense were crowned winners of a BT competition last year and received a £15,000 prize fund to help with the project. The award-winning lights are designed specifically to be daylight-visible, enhancing cyclist safety in all lighting conditions, while flashing brighter and faster in riskier situations such as round junctions and roundabouts. They were also recently voted ‘Best Bike Gadget’ by readers of road.cc, the UK’s biggest online cycling website.
Professor John Davies, chief researcher of Future Technologies at BT, told Lux: ‘This is an exciting project to be working on with Manchester City Council and CityVerve. There are wide range of opportunities emerging from the real-time data collected from the lights and other sources stored in our platform, bringing valuable insights for the city’s infrastructure and policies, and helping develop a safer and better cycling experience for the people of Manchester.’
Irene McAleese, co-founder of See.Sense, said: ‘This project is providing us with an opportunity to have a closed trial for data collection at scale, and show how our unique crowdsourced data can be used to reduce barriers to cycling, particularly around safety. Better data will help to make cycling more visible to policy makers, and allow cities to take adaptive, data-driven decisions. This will also provide the opportunity for improved integration of cycling into the city’s mobility plans.’
The lights are heavily subsidised as part of the trial and will be available to participants for only £10 instead of the usual price of £80, but must be collected at nominated collection points.The app which tracks the lights is only available via Android phones. The trial will rununtil the end of the CityVerve project, and the cyclists can keep using their lights at the end of the trial.
To take part in the trial, click HERE
- IoT-connected city lighting is one of the sessions at the new Smart Spaces Conference feature at the LuxLive 2017 exhibition and conference. It runs on Wednesday 15 November and Thursday 16 November at ExCeL London. Entry is free if you pre-register HERE.