Monday 10 December 2018

Smartcharge receives €25k grant to develop cycling safety solution

Ellie Donnelly

Ellie Donnelly

Smartcharge has received a €25k grant to develop smart signage that promotes bicycle safety, and will be partnering with VT Networks to connect the signs to the cloud.

The news comes as five cyclists have been killed on Irish roads in 2017 as of the end of March.

To help address cycling issues, Dublin City Council and Enterprise Ireland are providing grants as part of the Smart Dublin Small Business Innovation and Research initiative.

In September 2016, Smartcharge was one of five companies chosen out of ninety-six that were interested in the initiative, which aimed to promote cycling, gather data and prevent bicycle theft.

The Smartcharge team, led by CTO Mick Berry and physicist Dr. James Fryar, received €11k in phase one of the competition. Four of the five companies, including Smartcharge, were advanced to phase two in March, for which they received €25k.

As part of phase two, Smartcharge will use the €25k grant to create smart signs that light up in the presence of cyclists, warning drivers to use caution. The signs, powered by solar and battery, will detect special tags carried by the cyclists.

Smartcharge is also partnering with VT Networks to integrate low-power, low-cost Sigfox connectivity into the signs.

VT Networks provides energy-efficient and simple network for the sensors and devices that make up the Internet of Things (IoT), while Sigfox is a low-power, wide area network (LPWAN) technology that specializes in connecting simple IoT solutions to the cloud.

There are Sigfox networks in 31 countries, and VT operates the nationwide network in Ireland.

Integrating Sigfox will allow the city to monitor the status of every sign to ensure they are properly maintained. Very little power is needed for devices to send messages over the Sigfox network —up to 300 times less than traditional cellular options. This is critical for the solar and battery powered signs, according to Mick Berry, CTO of Smartcharge.

We are excited to see Smartcharge progress onto phase two of this project and look forward to helping them bring their solution to life,” said Will Ferguson, co-founder and COO of VT. “Smartcharge has a history of innovation, so it’s great to see them using their skills to tackle this complicated safety issue,” he said.

According to the most recent cyclist injury statistics from the Road Safety Authority, 630 cyclists were injured in 2012, with 83pc of those incidents involving motor vehicles.

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