Mobility startups are often focused on automobiles and the future of connectivity and autonomy. Damon, a startup from Vancouver, Canada, has set its sights on another form of transportation: motorcycles.
“The category that we’re really in is personal mobility,” said Jay Giraud, founder and CEO of Damon. “Whether that’s three people in a smart car, one person on a scooter or motorbike – or the future of mobility that may be a little more of a blur between those things.”
Damon is currently working on a safety solution that provides haptic feedback to motorcyclists. For example, if a car is approaching too quickly from the right, the right handlebar will vibrate. If the rider is traveling too quickly for the traffic ahead, both handlebars will vibrate.
“Damon is all about safety: telematics, connectivity and heavy data collection off the motorbikes for the purpose of driving,” said Giraud. “The idea with Damon is that, periodically, your bike is going to get software updates that make it smarter and able to see more threats over time so we can avoid accidents.”
While Damon is still in the early stages of development and does not plan to deploy commercially in 2018, the company is preparing for the eventual release of its service. Giraud said the current plan is to charge owners or OEMs a “very small” monthly fee.
“With that they get tow alert, theft alert, bump alert – which is fantastic for motorbikes because those things happen all the time,” said Giraud. “It will call 911 if you have an accident and it will broadcast your location to 911. And most importantly the bike will get periodic safety updates.”
The service will only get better with time. Giraud theorized that if 100,000 Damon-enabled motorbikes were on the road, the company could collect lots of data surrounding collisions and near-collision situations pertaining to specific intersections.
“Then our cloud can run all the AI algorithms and determine the predictive probabilities of [an accident] happening to you in the next five minutes as you pass through that intersection,” he added. “It will become increasingly accurate at detecting the behaviors of others to determine the possibility that you might get T-boned or that this car might try to cut you off or whatever the situation may be. So your bike gets better and better at detecting threats and communicating those threats to you intuitively.”
Giraud hopes this will allow Damon to cut down on motorcycle accidents, which are often more serious than a typical car accident.
“We can collect data from rider behavior so we can bucket riders into different types based on size, height, weight, rider behavior, how stiff they are on the bike,” he said. “Even by collecting intent data we can predict what they are going to do. So now we know what’s happening around the bike, we know what’s happening with the ambient environment and we know what riders are intending, and you get even better at those threat predictions.”
Damon is experimenting with a wide variety of technologies that could lead to new breakthroughs in mobility safety.
“We have a number of global patents pending that will use different inputs coming at the motorcycle,” said Giraud. “Everything from sound to speed to infrared detection and light detection.”
Damon is also looking at how water reflects to better determine if the road is wet or dry. The goal is to relay that info in a clear and concise matter that informs riders when conditions are worse than they realize.
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Louis Bedigian is an experienced journalist and contributor to various automotive trade publications. He is a dynamic writer, editor and communications specialist with expertise in the areas of journalism, promotional copy, PR, research and social networking.