Saved by the app: New smartphone tech could save your life after a crash

Bosch helpline operators can send emergency services to your location
Bosch helpline operators can send emergency services to your location

When it comes to pushing the boundaries of lifesaving motorcycle tech, Bosch have been at the forefront for years.

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For the last two decades, much of the safety technology we’ve come to rely on from simple ABS to high-tech IMUs has been pioneered by the electronics experts in Stuttgart.

Now they’ve distilled that learning into an app for smartphone users that could potentially save your life for just a couple of pounds a month.

The biggest problem for motorcyclists who have a serious accident is time and it’s the reason why country roads, where most serious motorcycle collisions take place, are also the place for the most fatalities.

Bosch’s solution to this is to attempt to cut down the amount of time between the accident happening and it being reported to the emergency services.

Instead of waiting for someone to come along, find the accident and report it, Bosch have created an algorithm that plugs into an existing app to let the emergency services know when you need help.

To create the algorithm, Bosch used the many years of data they have compiled while developing the safety systems we’re used to on modern, high tech motorcycles.

A Bosch agent in the call centre

From this they know the type of data that’s produced when you have a serious crash. Given that most smartphones now have GPS chips, as well as accelerometers, they can use the data from a phone to work out when a crash has taken place – if it stops suddenly from high speed for instance, or the phone rotates multiple times over suggesting the bike is tumbling down the road.

If the algorithm thinks a crash has taken place, it contacts Bosch’s 24/7 Help Connect emergency call centre, transmitting current location and severity of the impact.

In the call centre, specially trained agents attempt to contact the rider. If the rider doesn’t respond and the sensors have detected a serious accident, they contact the emergency services of the European country you are in with all the info so they can respond to you as quickly as possible.

It can even notify friends and relatives if you like. And the cost of all this potentially lifesaving tech? Just £4 a month.

The Help Connect service works inside another bike navigation app called Calimoto, which is free to download and in time Bosch aim to have the tech built into their IMUs. For the app version to work, you have to make sure your phone is fixed firmly to your bike, it won’t work in your pocket.

New tech: Emergency call system by Bosch aims to halve ambulance response times

First published on June 6, 2020 by Jordan Gibbons

Could this tech be a new guardian angel for bikers?

Bosch have created a new emergency call system that could save thousands of lives a year.

Called Help Connect, the system uses a bike’s existing Intertial Measurement Unit (IMU) to detect when a crash has taken place before issuing a request for help. To make the software work, Bosch had to begin by simulating accidents.

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To collect the data from a bike’s IMU, Bosch crashed 18 motorcycles and measured the data. The IMU gathers information around 100 times per second, measuring acceleration (or deceleration) in six planes as well as angular velocity, which is how fast the angular position of an object changes with time.

Bosch crashed 18 motorcycles to collect data

By doing this, Bosch had enough data to create an algorithm that can detect when a crash has taken place, so the bike wouldn’t alert the emergency services if it fell off the stand for instance.

When the bike detects a crash has taken place, it transmits information about the accident scene and the rider to the Bosch Service Centre via an app on a smartphone. Using a smartphone app means no additional controller is required on the bike, making it a relatively easy installation. It also means that as most people carry their phones on their body, if the rider is flung from the bike then locating them should be easier.

Once the message has been sent to Bosch, they attempt to contact the rider and if they’re unresponsive then Bosch controllers contact the emergency services. The company said they took on this work to save lives as the risk of being killed in an accident is still 20 times higher for a motorcyclist than for a car driver. It’s been proven that the quicker a motorcyclist receives help, the greater their chances of survival are, so Bosch wanted to work out a way to speed that up.

With this technology, Bosch say ambulance response times are virtually halved.

“Help Connect adds a digital guardian angel to the broad Bosch portfolio of motorcycle safety systems,” says Bosch board member Harald Kroeger.

For now, the service is only being launched in Germany as a test, although it will work for users across Europe. Assuming a successful launch, it will then be rolled out more widely. BMW already offer a system fitted to their bikes while other firms have systems that are operated by a cord which pulls a pin if you come off the bike.

Bosch accident detection system

Jordan Gibbons

By Jordan Gibbons

News Editor, owns some old bikes. Should know better.