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Dutch launch intelligent bicycle that warns of danger

Staff writer |
The Netherlands launched its first intelligent bicycle, fitted with electronics to help bring down the high accident rate among elderly cyclists.

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Developed for the government by the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO), the intelligent bicycle prototype runs on electricity, and sports a forward-looking radar mounted below the handlebars and a camera in the rear mudguard.

A commercial-available bicycle is expected to be on the market in the next two years and should sell for between 1,700 euros ($1,800) to 3,200 euros per bicycle.

The forward and rearward detection devices on the test bike are linked through an onboard computer with a vibrating warning system installed in the bicycle's saddle and handlebars to alert cyclists to impending danger.

The saddle vibrates when other cyclists approach from behind, while the handlebars do the same when obstacles appear ahead. It also has a cradle in which a computer tablet can be inserted, to wirelessly connect and "talk" to the bicycle through a dedicated application.

The mounted tablet also flashes a bright signal if there is an approaching obstacle in the bicycle's path, like a lamppost, or if another cyclist comes up from behind intending to pass.

"More and more elderly people are using a bicycle, not only for short distances, but also for longer distances," Dutch Environment and Infrastructure Minister Melanie Schultz van Haegen told AFP.

"This type of bicycle is truly needed in the Netherlands because it will help us down bring the number of elderly people who are injured every year and allow them to continue enjoy cycling," she said.


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