Josh Fox Wants to Put Computer Vision to Work Making Cycling Safer with the Survue Smart Light

Using only a camera and on-board smarts, the Survue is claimed to deliver accurate path predictions for overtaking vehicles.

Portland-based engineer Josh Fox is hoping to make cycling safer with a device that can keep an eye on other vehicles — using a camera and computer vision model to track the path of cars, trucks, and other road users and warn in the even of a likely collision.

"Survue detects vehicles' exact location, predicts where they are going, alerts you if they are near, and automatically records video of vehicles that pass too closely," Fox claims of his creation, "giving you maximum situational awareness and peace of mind during your ride. Survue is the only technology that can tell a passing vehicle from a colliding vehicle resulting in meaningful alerts and confidence as you bike."

The Survue aims to put computer vision on the task of making cycling safer, by predicting what other road users will do. (📹: Josh Fox)

The Survue, which doubles as a rear light, links to the user's smartphone to provide visual and audible alerts regarding traffic approaching from the rear. Designed after Fox grew concerned for the safety of his infant daughter in a bicycle trailer, the gadget aims to reduce surprises — and by triggering a built-in camera to record close passes, increase accountability.

"As luck would have it," Fox explains, "the required technologies all matured at the same time at that point where a battery powered device could run an optimized computer vision algorithm efficiently enough to fit in a form factor acceptable for the bicycling market."

Survue — named for the French "sûr" and "vue," meaning "safe view" — is a purely vision-based approach to the problem, constantly monitoring the camera's video feed and running a computer vision model that can isolate vehicles and predict their path. While this, Fox claims, can deliver collision predictions better than radar-based alternatives, it also means the Survue is unlikely to work well in fog and other weather that restricts its view.

The Survue is currently funding on Kickstarter, priced at $215 for the first 100 backers, a claimed 35 percent discount off the device's planned retail price; all hardware is expected to be delivered in May next year, with Fox promising "one more iteration to add more functionality and increase manufacturability" compared to the current prototype.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire:
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