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  1. #1
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    Bicycle transpopnders?

    With all the buzz about self-driving / Google / etc cars, I'm thinking this will never work without some sort of transponder for cyclists. This would be in addition to whatever detection technology in in the motor vehicle (LIDAR, camera, etc). I think ideally the transponder would provide position and velocity data which would make avoidance for the motor vehicle easier. Couldn't find anything on the interwebs along these lines though.

    scott s.
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  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by scott967 View Post
    With all the buzz about self-driving / Google / etc cars, I'm thinking this will never work without some sort of transponder for cyclists.
    Why do you think so? The demos I've seen of the Google self-driving software seems to show good detection and proper identification of cyclists as well as pedestrians and other road users. Special transponders could presumably make it still better but even without them I'd already trust the systems to properly identify and avoid me better than most of the drivers on the road today.

  3. #3
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Volvo has already announced a system that locates cyclists for their crash avoidance system.

    Volvo Introduces Cyclist Collision Avoidance System | Road Bike News, Reviews, and Photos

    The computer detected that a collision will occur as the cyclist went directly into the path of the automobile. The driver is given the chance to slow down or stop but if the computer detects no brake input from the driver, it will decide to intervene at the last possible second. Knowing how quick the car can stop and given the speed of the car and the cyclist, the car will automatically brake and stop itself to avoid hitting the cyclist. This is the true asset of the Collision Avoidance System.

    A similar system is now in place in many vehicles in the form of avoiding collision with other cars. Mtbr and Carreview have driven many of these systems and they actually work.
    Hopefully it works better than their media demonstration shows.


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    The VERY LAST thing we need in a crash avoidance system is any kind of transponder or radar reflector on the bicycle. It's the driver's job, or that of the driver's crash avoidance system to avoid bicycles, pedestrians or whatever. It's not the job of the potential hittees to somehow prompt those systems.

    What happens to the cyclist if his transponder battery dies?
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  5. #5
    Señior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    From what I've seen, the existing sensors on self-driving cars are already better at spotting cyclists than humans are.
    Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by scott967 View Post
    With all the buzz about self-driving / Google / etc cars, I'm thinking this will never work without some sort of transponder for cyclists. This would be in addition to whatever detection technology in in the motor vehicle (LIDAR, camera, etc). I think ideally the transponder would provide position and velocity data which would make avoidance for the motor vehicle easier. Couldn't find anything on the interwebs along these lines though.
    Quote Originally Posted by ItsJustMe View Post
    From what I've seen, the existing sensors on self-driving cars are already better at spotting cyclists than humans are.
    Have you, or anyone else seen videos, demonstrations, "buzz," or any documents that the promoters and media hypseters for self driving car technology did not want the public to see?

    Who knows, this super-duper technological advance may even top the Segway's influence on transportation of the masses.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by ItsJustMe View Post
    From what I've seen, the existing sensors on self-driving cars are already better at spotting cyclists than humans are.
    Not a high bar to clear......

  8. #8
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    I guess I am just a skeptic that a passive (from bike viewpoint) system alone is going to suffice. The problem I see is that if these self-driving vehicles do come about, there will be a push to make the roads "friendly" to them. I think for example some systems rely on following the painted lines so obviously they need to be maintained. Given that bicycles often seem to be tolerated rather than embraced, if it comes that bikes are seen as "holding back" progress, it won't be good for access. That's why I'm thinking maybe the industry needs to be proactive.

    scott s.
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  9. #9
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scott967 View Post
    I guess I am just a skeptic that a passive (from bike viewpoint) system alone is going to suffice. The problem I see is that if these self-driving vehicles do come about, there will be a push to make the roads "friendly" to them. I think for example some systems rely on following the painted lines so obviously they need to be maintained. Given that bicycles often seem to be tolerated rather than embraced, if it comes that bikes are seen as "holding back" progress, it won't be good for access. That's why I'm thinking maybe the industry needs to be proactive.

    scott s.
    .
    Do a bit of research... the systems currently under design and test use a combination of LIDAR and vision to see the road and any potential obstacles, including humans. These systems can track multiple "targets" and compute both desired preferred paths and collision avoidance. Since pedestrian avoidance is a huge factor, humans on bikes are simply just another factor in their system. There are no requirements for pedestrians to wear transponders, so why would cyclists be required to do so. The burden for safety is on the self driving car to fit into the current environment, not to modify the environment for the self driving cars.

    Yes, in the past, crude versions of the current vehicles were tested (San Diego was a test bed) and such systems required special "nails" in a specific course and markers etc... but such tests were conducted over 20 years ago and were hailed as being a stepping stone, but dismissed as impractical.

  10. #10
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    I hope you are right that these systems will be able to accurately track a (possibly several) bicycle doing 20+ mph at different aspects. What prompted this was an article in May IEEE Spectrum written by a couple of GM engineers. They mention USDOT has a "Crash Avoidance Metrics Partnership" which is working to develop standard communications protocols and security for vehicle to vehicle (V2V) technology. Also they cite Europe has a "Car-2Car Communication Consortium". They talk about a pilot program in Ann Arbor that started in 2012. Also vehicle to infrastructure (V2I) communications. Supposedly USDOT is pushing for a rule-making that would require V2V in all new vehicles. GM was working on a system they demoed in 2009 that worked with peds and cyclists, using Wifi Direct as the comm link.

    scott s.
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  11. #11
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    That's what we need, alright....something to make bicycles more expensive......

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