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Bike routing app uses space for cyclists

Written by  Tuesday, 02 June 2020 05:46
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Cyclists can use the app to identify the best route and give directions

A navigation app that guides people on safer, more enjoyable bike journeys will be launched later this summer as social-distancing measures encourage more cyclists to take to the road.

Developed by London-based company Beeline, it uses space data and crowdsourced information to generate route suggestions, and can be connected to a device fixed onto the bike’s handlebars that provides easy-to-understand prompts.

The app calculates the best route and gives navigation directions for cyclists
The app calculates the best route and gives navigation directions for cyclists

This means the system can learn about the preferences of individual cyclists, so route suggestions can be tailored to their skill and experience level.

By using crowdsourced information, the suitability of routes can also be continually updated as changes occur; for example, in response to new pop-up cycle infrastructure being installed in many cities.

The Bluetooth-linked device then displays information including journey progress, direction prompts, and speed, allowing the cyclist to focus on the road and navigate simultaneously.

As well as individual cyclists, the app will be used by delivery companies to search for faster, safer routes, and bike share companies to suggest pleasant journeys to their customers.

“As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, people are being encouraged to cycle rather than use crowded public transport. This means in the near future there will be a large increase of new and inexperienced cyclists on the road, especially in cities,” says Tom.

“Although the app is aimed at all experience levels, we are working hard to ensure safer and more pleasant routes are suggested to new cyclists, giving them the confidence to explore using their new mode of transport.”

“Cycling has many benefits for society and our health, and, given the current guidelines put in place to reduce coronavirus transmission, these are now even more important,” says Fausto Vieira, ESA Space Applications Engineer and Technical Officer of the Beeline project.

“ESA is thrilled to support the development of this Beeline technology, which has been demonstrated to provide people with an improved cycling experience when compared to well-known mapping platforms.”


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