Garmin may begin offering radar systems for bikes

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iKubu Ltd, which was developing the car-detecting Backtracker radar system seen here, has been purchased by Garmin (Photo: Ben Coxworth/Gizmag)

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Even when a crowdfunding project doesn't meet its financial goal, it can still turn out to be a success. A case in point is iKubu Ltd's Backtracker, a car-detecting low-power radar system for bicycles. Although the South African startup's fund-raising campaign on Dragon Innovation didn't work out, electronics giant Garmin has now bought the company.

The Backtracker system utilizes two modules – one located on the seatpost, and one on the handlebars. The rear module uses a 24-GHz radar antenna to scan for vehicles approaching from behind. When it detects one (or more), it notifies the front module via Bluetooth LE. That module in turn lets the rider know that cars are closing in, using an advancing LED display. The rear module also has a built-in tail light, which starts blinking more rapidly as vehicles approach it.

Despite the fact that iKubu didn't meet its fundraising goal, the company had proceeded into the final production stage of the Backtracker. On Jan. 14, however, Garmin announced that it had acquired iKubu's assets.

While most of iKubu's employees will reportedly be transferred to Garmin's existing South African subsidiary, it hasn't been stated if the Backtracker will continue to be developed as a stand-alone system. That said, given that iKubu's managing director Franz Struwig has stated that he looks forward to integrating his company's technology into Garmin's products, it seems more likely that it will find its way into Garmin's Edge cycle computer.

Source: Garmin via Bike Radar

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