Motorcyclists are constantly exposed to more danger than operators of other vehicles. On a bike you are more exposed and don’t have the safety net provided by doors, a roof, reinforced steel beams, and roll cages. A major factor in motorcycle safety is visibility — a bike is smaller and harder to see, and even the horn can’t compare to the ones found on cars. As a result, it is even more important for riders to signal their intent on the road, especially with the use of turn signals.
Unlike cars, motorcycles do not always come with self-cancelling signals, especially when it comes to older models. The danger is compounded when even veteran motorcyclists occasionally forget to switch off their signals or are not aware they are even on. It does happen. For bikes that do come with self-cancelling signals, they are usually set to switch off after a certain distance or time has passed, which may not always be ideal. The Smart Turn System from Slovenia-based company ABCS Sistem is designed to mitigate these risks.
The Smart Turn System uses motion sensor technology to determine when a rider has changed a lane, exited a freeway, or simply taken a turn. A patented system collects movement data (300 elements per second), including acceleration, inclination, heading, and vibration. It then uses an algorithm to determine what the rider is doing and, at the completion of the maneuver, switches off the motorcycle’s turn signal. It is integrated into the bike’s electronics to use its stock lights.
The idea came to CEO Miha Kovac from a personal experience, as stated in a press release. “I was riding around with turn signals left on after a completion of a maneuver and a very attentive car driver cut me off from the side road — his assumption of me intending to make a right turn at the crossroad was soundly based on what he was able to see: a blinking turn signal,” says Kovac.
Kovak used this experience as motivation to create a company in 2014 devoted to improving rider safety. Along with COO Roc Upelj, he gathered a team of experts in mechanics and electronics to create a prototype. ABCS Sistem is also developing various mounting systems to adapt its device to any motorcycle. The startup is working with major motorcycle manufacturers to test the system, which has already gone through extensive in-house trials. It is also working towards certification for distribution.
“There is always a risk of something going wrong on the road. One false indication and it is all over” says Kovac. “Nothing is more valuable than life itself — this is why we have to reduce this risk as much as possible.”
Beta testing for the Smart Turn System will begin in March, with a planned commercial release in spring 2016. Visit the company website for more information.