Mechanical engineering professor Rajesh Rajamani and Roadway Safety Institute director Max Donath have been awarded a nearly $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation.
This “Partnerships for Innovation: Building Innovation Capacity” grant awards funding to academe-industry partnerships whose proposals move research toward implementation of a human-centered smart service system. In this new project, Rajamani and Donath will partner with Quality Bicycle Products to explore implementation and possible commercialization of the bicycle collision-warning system developed by Rajamani in his Institute-funded research.
The project, titled Smart Human-Centered Collision Warning System: Sensors, Intelligent Algorithms and Human-Computer Interfaces for Safe and Minimally Intrusive Car-Bicycle Interactions, aims to reduce the more than 48,000 bicycle–vehicle collisions that occur in the U.S. each year.
The warning system will help motorists keep a safe distance when passing bicyclists and alert only those drivers who are most likely to collide with a bicycle—while minimizing false alarms and unnecessary distractions to motorists. Bicyclists will get guidance cues from the system to ensure a safe and respectful response to vehicles. Human factors concepts will be used to design an alert system that gives motorists specific and effective audio-visual cues—and to help ensure cyclists don’t respond to the improved security by riding more recklessly.
“Bicyclists face far greater consequences in a crash than a motorist,” Rajamani says. “So it’s in the best interest of the bicyclist to be proactive in preventing a collision.”
Nichole Morris, principal researcher with the U’s HumanFIRST Laboratory, will lead work on the human factors components of the research, which includes improving the warning system. Additionally, Loren Terveen, professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, will serve as a co-investigator.