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Telstra brings it 5G technology to new bicycle helmet to increase rider safety

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Telstra is bringing its 5G technology to a new cycling helmet to create a new level of road safety for riders around the country.

Each year, 44 cyclist are tragically killed on Australian roads – a number that could rise in the future if things don’t change.

The new 5G-enabled cycling helmet – called Road Helmet One – includes a range of smart technologies to improve on-road safety.

Through its fast 5G connection the helmet will be able to warn riders about road works and accidents, warn of possible car door openings and even see around corners and pick up oncoming vehicle.

There are more cyclists on the road than ever with delivery services, commuters and leisure riders.

Unfortunately with this cycling boom comes a rise in the number of Australians injured or killed in crashes.

Here’s what the 5G helmet will be able to do:

– Road Alerts / Virtual Variable Message Sign (V-VMS): Road alerts such as road works, accidents, breakdown response, caution and congestion are audibly announced to the rider as they enter a section of the road affected.

– V2X Collision Alerts: Vehicle and vulnerable road users share real-time location/heading and receive collision alerts.

– Video Analytics – Ride Data: Generates data about the ride by analysing the video of the ride. This data could be stored with the video or displayed in real-time alongside the video stream.

– Video Analytics – Car Door Opening: Cyclist receives early warning of possible car door opening alert based on video analytics processed in the cloud.

– Video Analytics Alert – Smart City Infrastructure: cyclists will share real-time location/heading to the V2X platform. Video analytics from street cameras pick up moving vehicles around corners and will send an alert to the cyclist via the platform. The platform will provide an alert if it determines there will be a collision.

– Combine Virtual and Real Bicycle Ride: A rider at home on a training bicycle can share a ride with a person out on the road in real-time. The road rider’s helmet view is streamed to a TV in front of the training bicycle.

The 5G connected helmet was created in partnership between Telstra and Australian start-up Arenberg.

“Covid-19 has grown our Cycling community but the risks for road riders remain the same,.” said Chris Flintoff, co-founder of Arenberg.

“Our team were honoured to work with Telstra on the development of the Telstra Heads Up Helmet prototype.

“The capabilities of Telstra’s network has enabled us to connect our Road Helmet One – a bike helmet with an integrated camera – to the endless capabilities of 5G.

Anne Meares wearing the 5G-connected helmet

“Creating unlimited opportunities for cyclists, not just increased road safety but also entertainment and increased functionality.

The prototype has been designed to take advantage of Telstra’s high-speed 5G network and low latency benefit so it can provide real time data to the rider.

“We have been working for some time on connected vehicle technologies (V2X) with some of the world’s largest car manufacturers,” said Todd Essery, Telstra Labs Innovation Lead.

“Our team wanted to see whether we could use the same technology for the first time to address the issue of road safety for the more vulnerable road users in Australia: cyclists.

“Telstra’s 5G network, which now covers more than two thirds of Australians, is crucial to this as the low latency means information can flow to and from the helmet extremely quickly which is important because milliseconds of delay can be the difference between safety and serious injury.”

The helmet is still in the early development stage but it has already attracted the attention of champion cyclist Anna Meares and Australia’s national cycling safety body AusCycling.

“A 5G-enabled cycling helmet could be a real win for Australia’s growing cycling community and road safety in general,” Meares says.

“While it is no surprise that I am a passionate rider, I still do worry about the safety of road riders including myself and my loved ones.

“Cyclists are amongst the most vulnerable users on our roads with far too many unnecessary and avoidable deaths.

“This kind of technology could not only help protect the safety of cyclists but also encourage more people to get out and cycle.

“It is really great to see how companies like Telstra are using their network to tackle this important issue for riders and all people on the road.”

CEO of AusCycling, Marne Fechner said: “Just one life lost on the roads is too many and this initiative by Telstra has the potential to save lives.

“We’re excited to see where this helmet can go as this prototype is already shaping up to be a gamechanger for the cycling community and anything that contributes to the safety of cyclists on Australian roads, we wholeheartedly endorse.”