I continue to experiment with how a dashcam can assist urban cyclists. This time, I’ve started a fresh design with a different idea, a new camera, new models, and new code, which I’m submitting as an entry for the Toronto ♥️’s Bikes Make-a-Thon.
I enjoy biking from my home in North York, near Mel Lastman Square, to my office near Union Station during the week. The most harrowing part of this ride is the Yonge-401 interchange, which requires two lane changes with fast moving traffic from the 401 on and off ramp.
As cyclists in the city, we all have “scary spots” like these on our routes. I would like to present you with a Smart Dashcam for Bicycles as a tool for these challenges. A dashcam could:
- increase safety
- collect evidence in the event of an incident
- gather data
For the purposes of the Make-a-Thon, I have built a smart dashcam with blind spot detection, similar to what you would see in modern cars. The IIHS says that in cars, this feature lowers the rate of all lane-change crashes by 14 percent.
My prototype consists of a laptop, a USB AI accelerated camera from Luxonis mounted to my bicycle seat post, and my smartphone as a display. It’s a few hundred lines of Python code that builds on a freely available AI vehicle recognition model from the Intel Open Model Zoo. I’ve built on the license plate recognition and MJPEG video streaming sample code from Luxonis that was supplied with the OAK-D camera. I tether the laptop to the smartphone using wifi, and I use an iOS app called IPCams to view the video stream.
The vehicles are recognized and identified. The video is streamed over wifi to the smartphone. A caution alert is added to the video when a vehicle is detected.
In this proof of concept, the dashcam is just a fancy, complicated, expensive, rear view mirror. A final version would expand on this functionality by integrating features such as:
- Sounding an audible alert when danger is detected
- Recording the speed and proximity of the cars around you
- Integrated GPS
- Cloud and social features for sharing data with the city and fellow cyclists
- A car driver readable display, eg: “Driver ABCD1234, your current speed is 45”. Like a mobile Toronto Watch Your Speed program sign. Would a driver allow a cyclist more space if they were aware their actions are being logged?