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Engineers are working on developing “smart bikes” to improve safety and efficiency.

In collaboration with the Northern Arizona University, a team of engineers has developed a smart bike that increases the efficiency, safety, and mobility of bicycles while also helping to promote cycling activities and reduce emissions.

Associate professor Chun-Hsing Ho and associate professor Brendan Russo of Northern Arizona University’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, as well as assistant professor Steven Gehrke of Northern Arizona University’s Department of Geography, Planning, and Recreation, are working on developing an instrumented bike that will bike efficiency, safety, and mobility—all of which will help promote cycling activities and, as a result, lower emissions.

In order to the -time quality of cycling infrastructure systems such as bike trails, sidewalks, and pedestrian pathways, the bike will be equipped with a sensor logger and a video device that will be linked to a mobile and a cloud server/website. Cyclists and municipal authorities who manage cycling infrastructure can immediately from this information because cyclists will be aware of upcoming potential hazards and will be able to adjust their cycling routes accordingly, and road managers will be able to effectively prioritize their maintenance needs.

The research team will employ a graduate student and one or two undergraduate students to with sensor assembly and bicycling in both the laboratory and the field, thanks to a grant from the States Department of University Transportation Pacific South Region, which is managed by the University of Southern California.

This technology has an unexploited potential in terms of assessing the surface conditions of bike facilities, says Ho.

According to Ho, “With the continued growth in cycling activity and infrastructure throughout the country, the question of how to obtain -time information on cycling facilities that would assist in better maintaining the quality of these facilities and providing a environment for cyclists has become a concern among city, county, and state engineers.”

The instrumented bike will be designed to travel along bike trails and other locations where cyclists can ride but where motor vehicles are not in order to collect vibration responses and video footage, as well as to collect data from cyclists. All of the vibration and video data while cycling will be wirelessly transferred to a cloud server where it will be processed using the algorithms developed as part of the project for analysis.

Any potential hazards that are identified (for example, severe potholes, bumps, cracks, and so on) will be georeferenced and displayed on both computers and smart mobile phones with GPS capabilities. Through the use of sensors on bicycles, it is possible to examine and quantify the geometric and surface conditions of existing trails, as well as to identify and communicate potential hazards along a bike route with other cyclists.

Dr. Ho’s research interests as a civil engineer together emerging technologies that use engineering principles and innovative construction materials to provide a variety of analysis methods that enable his research team to better assess the performance of civil infrastructure systems and built under the of events. These methods include data analytics, computing algorithms, sensing, and geographic information system (GIS) mapping to better assess the performance of civil infrastructure systems and built environments under the influence of extreme events. His objective is to promote the long-term viability and longevity of pavement systems in order to extend the useful life of structures.

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