Riding your bike could soon feel more like flying a fighter jet, if sketch prototypes from Future Cities Catapult find their way to production.
All five of the ideas — though we’re partial to the heads-up display — use data from open street and cycling maps. Many apps, like CityMapper, already use this openly available data to power their services.
“The inconsistency of where to cycle, plus the attention demands when on the road, makes navigation for cyclists a tricky design challenge,” said Rebecca Jones, a technologist at Future Cities Catapult. “Augmenting moments when the path changes from one type to another, could enable better navigation.”
For newer cyclists, learning routes is hard enough. Take in to account that cycle paths traverse an diverse network of interconnected pathways including streets, protected bike paths and parks, and urban cycling becomes a daunting task. A heads-up display allows a rider to see directions while paying attention to the landmarks and cityscape around them.
Technology like this also adds an invisible layer of infrastructure to the urban landscape. Dan Hill, chief design officer at Future Cities Catapult, explains this augmentation in Dezeen magazine.
“There is potential of a soft infrastructure which can be overlaid on existing urban fabric to further support cycling, which takes advantage of contemporary technologies such as wearables, Internet of Things, real-time sensor data, and so on,” Hill said.
Another perk of the heads up-display, as envisioned by Catapult, is the ability to illustrate vehicle blind spots. A cyclist approaching a bus can see the exact outline of the unsafe area and know how to avoid possible collisions.
Everyday cyclists aren’t the only ones who can benefit from these prototypes.
“Bike share users are often new to the city, with no prior-learned routes,” Jones said. “Supporting them in their understanding and following the rules of road is critical.”
A device envisioned by Catapult attaches to bike-share cycles and aids in navigation for those unfamiliar with the city.
Don’t reach for your wallet quite yet, though.
“All these ideas are merely sketches,” the company said. “These are suggestions of devices that could work on today’s roads as well as helpfully augmenting future infrastructure.”