Bicycles

Cotlo's Corvus smart bike knows when cars are coming from behind

Cotlo's Corvus smart bike know...
The Cotlo Corvus smart bike, on display at Interbike 2015
The Cotlo Corvus smart bike, on display at Interbike 2015
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The Cotlo Corvus' OLED screen displays data such as current speed, distance traveled, calories burned and cadence
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The Cotlo Corvus' OLED screen displays data such as current speed, distance traveled, calories burned and cadence
The Cotlo Corvus features a rear-facing 24-GHz radar module, which detects vehicles approaching from behind
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The Cotlo Corvus features a rear-facing 24-GHz radar module, which detects vehicles approaching from behind
The Cotlo Corvus' integrated LED headlight automatically comes on when it gets dark out, thanks to an ambient light sensor
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The Cotlo Corvus' integrated LED headlight automatically comes on when it gets dark out, thanks to an ambient light sensor
Navigational cues are delivered from the app to the rider by vibrating motors in either end of the Cotlo Corvus' handlebars
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Navigational cues are delivered from the app to the rider by vibrating motors in either end of the Cotlo Corvus' handlebars
The Cotlo Corvus smart bike, on display at Interbike 2015
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The Cotlo Corvus smart bike, on display at Interbike 2015
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Even if motorized bicycles turn you off, perhaps you still appreciate some of the electronic bells and whistles that are included on many e-bikes. If that's the case, then a "smart bike" might be more to your liking. One of the latest to catch our eye is the Cotlo Corvus, which features a car-detecting rear radar system and a built-in OLED display. We came across a prototype at Interbike 2015, and got the goods.

Created by Chinese tech firm Cotlo and being promoted by China's Costelo Sports, the Corvus at first glance appears to simply be another carbon fiber-framed hardtail mountain bike – perhaps a bit influenced by the design of Look's bikes, with its top tube and handlebar stem forming one continuous line.

Sitting flush with the top surface of that stem, however, is the backlit OLED screen. It displays data such as current speed, distance traveled, calories burned and cadence. Additional information, such as the bike's current location on a route map (or on a general city map, if the bike's been stolen), can be accessed via an accompanying smartphone app.

The Cotlo Corvus' OLED screen displays data such as current speed, distance traveled, calories burned and cadence
The Cotlo Corvus' OLED screen displays data such as current speed, distance traveled, calories burned and cadence

All that data is gathered by sensors such as a speedometer located near the rear dropouts, a cadence meter in one of the chainstays, and a power meter built into the bottom bracket. There's also a microprocessor located in the underside of the down tube, which includes a GPS module, altimeter, accelerometer, inclinometer, Bluetooth module and 9-axis gyroscope.

Everything is powered by a lithium-ion battery (just below the microprocessor), which can be removed for charging.

The Corvus additionally features a rear-facing 24-GHz radar module (seen below), which detects vehicles approaching from behind – it's like a built-in version of Garmin's Varia Radar. If the module determines that a car is closing in at a dangerously high speed, it alerts the rider by buzzing the seatpost. Samsung's one-off smart bike concept, by contrast, "just" uses a rear-facing video camera.

The Cotlo Corvus features a rear-facing 24-GHz radar module, which detects vehicles approaching from behind
The Cotlo Corvus features a rear-facing 24-GHz radar module, which detects vehicles approaching from behind

On the topic of buzzing, navigational cues are delivered from the app to the rider by vibrating motors in either end of the handlebars, as is the case with the Valour smart bike. When a left turn is coming up, the bike lets the rider know by buzzing their left hand, and – well, you get the idea.

Finally, there's also an integrated LED headlight. It automatically comes on when it gets dark out, thanks to an ambient light sensor.

As can be seen in the photos, some bits of the prototype we saw are still a little rough. That said, Cotlo is looking at producing the bike commercially, although there's no word on pricing or availability.

Source: Cotlo

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5 comments
gizmowiz
That's cool ideas.
windykites
Another idea is a rearview mirror. I believe they're quite good for seeing behind you.
Dave Lawrence
The rear view mirror might be a fatuous comment but it's absolutely right Why make the bike self aware when the bloody rider is apparently incapable of looking behind himself?
FloydWilson
Maybe we should start enforcing laws on bicyclists like ticketing them if they do not have the legally required rear view mirror and safety lights.
bergamot69
Having tried a rear view mirror on a drop-handlebar bike back in the '80s, they just didn't stick out far enough to give a sufficient field of view to be truly useful. Motorbike handlebars are that much wider- and also, at very low speeds, motorbikes have enough gyroscopic stability to avoid having to balance the bike by twisting the bars from side-to-side to stay foot-on-pedal. As for being able to 'look behind oneself' (Aloysius Bear), in busy traffic situations, such as we have in the UK where most cyclists (well, law abiding ones) have to ride on the road, when approaching a tricky junction such as a large roundabout, you need to be looking ahead and to the right (as we drive/ride on the left) more than behind you. Thus it was after I checked behind me, indicated, and pulled into the middle of the left hand lane approaching a roundabout, that I was rammed forcibly from behind by a Renault 5 driver who was only looking right, and failed to slow down for the cyclist in front of him (myself), who could not take advantage of the slim gap in traffic on the roundabout that only a driver or motorcyclist could have taken advantage of. @FloydWilson, perhaps you could give an example of where in the world it is compulsory to have a 'legally required rear view mirror' on a bicycle?