Without new motorcycle safety technology from Israeli startup Ride Vision, Eyal Nachmias is pretty sure he would be dead – or badly injured. As he rode his black and yellow BMW F900XR bike home late one night after a long day at his veterinary clinic, Nachmias found himself on a small side road behind a Volkswagen Golf.
“I kept a safe distance, riding about 50 to 60 kilometers per hour,” he recalls. But then he took his eyes off the road for a split second, distracted by something he does not even recall. At that moment, the Volkswagen suddenly came to a complete stop in the middle of the road.
Nachmias was able to stop in time, avoiding a crash, but only because a red light started flashing on his wing mirror, quickly bringing his attention back to the road and warning him of an impending collision.
“Without this Ride Vision system I installed, I would have been splattered all over that car,” Nachmias says.
Ride Vision, now available in Israel and Italy, with strategic partnerships underway to bring the system to more countries, has the ability to prevent the majority of accidents, explains Uri Lavi, the company’s cofounder and CEO. The potential market is huge: about 400 million motorbikes worldwide. The system can be fitted in less than an hour. The company is also working with partners in Europe, India and around the world to embed the system in new bikes.
“It will make a difference to the life of two-wheeler riders and will help in achieving the objective of zero road fatality,” says Ashok Minda, chairman of leading Indian automotive parts supplier Spark Minda, which recently partnered with Ride Vision to supply the system to local manufacturers so they can embed it in new bikes. In India, six two-wheeler drivers die every hour in accidents. In Europe, the company is also working with major automotive manufacturers, including Continental, to eventually embed the system in new two-wheelers.
The product is hitting the international market as motorcycle use and accidents are increasing, especially in crowded urban areas where people hope to avoid traffic congestion and possible Covid exposure on public transportation. In Israel alone, the first five months of 2021 saw an increase of 86% in the number of motorcycle and scooter fatalities.
Accident prevention for motorcycles is even more critical than for cars. When riding a two-wheel vehicle the chance of a fatality from an accident is 28 times higher and the chance of injury is six times higher than when riding in a car, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Ride Vision’s technology is similar to the advanced safety systems for cars that have emerged in recent years, Lavi says. Israel-based Mobileye, which Intel bought for $15 billion in 2017, makes vision-based driving assistance systems, warning drivers when they swerve out of their lane, get too close to another car or are about to hit something. But solutions for two- or three-wheel vehicles have been lacking.
“We have these systems in cars, so why not in two-wheelers?” asks Lavi. But Lavi could not just install Mobileye or other systems made for cars.
“A motorbike is a completely different creature on the road,” Lavi says. Motorcyclists are constantly turning their heads to see around them, and steering and turning requires leaning the motorcycle to the side, techniques not used in cars. Motorcycles also constantly vibrate, and regularly drive between lanes and very close to cars or other motorcycles.
“The system has to predict the unique maneuverability of the bikes,” Lavi explains. “Only after predicting the trajectory of the bike can we actually understand and say what is a real problem and a real hazard to the driver.”
So along with Lior Cohen, Ride Vision co-founder, chief technology officer and fellow motorcyclist, Lavi started from zero and designed a system specifically for motorcycles. It consists of two wide-angle cameras, one on the front and one on the back of the motorcycle, along with sophisticated software that analyzes the camera footage, using a patented algorithm to sort through data and images, figuring out when a situation is dangerous and then alerting the driver.
The system alerts riders to danger by lighting up or flashing LED lights installed on or below the rearview mirrors. Red lights indicate threats to the front of the bike, including driving too close to a vehicle, or an impending frontal collision, like Nachmias experienced. Orange lights indicate dangers approaching from behind, including objects in a driver’s blind spot, or vehicles on track to overtake the motorcycle at dangerous speeds.
“Riders are always faced with various threats from all directions,” says Daniel Petri, who runs the popular Israeli motorcycle blog Mitsu B’drachim, and is also a software engineer at ObserveIT. “And many times it is hard for the driver or the rider to realize that what he sees with his eyes is actually a threat. So if the system learns about these threats, and notifies you in advance, you can gain one or two precious seconds, and in that time you can either brake, slow down, or avoid the obstacle. This could save lives.”
The system can be installed on any motorcycle, new or old. Future features will include a rear collision warning system and an emergency calling system. The company is also working with insurers to grant discounts to bikers who install it.
Lavi says the system has also saved his life, recalling a recent commute to a meeting in Tel Aviv when he began leaning to his left to merge onto the city’s Ayalon Highway.
“I turned my head, looked to my left, didn’t see anything, so thought I was clear,” he recalls. But then an orange light flashed just above his left rear view mirror, signaling danger coming from behind.
“I quickly backed off, stopped my merge,” he said. Just then a car whipped by – he hadn’t seen it coming. Luckily, the system did.
“If I hadn’t had that alert, I would have merged, and it would have been a huge collision. I probably would not be here today talking about it.”
For more information about investing in Ride Vision through OurCrowd, click HERE.