Raspberry Pi-powered AI bike light detects cars, alerts bikers to bad drivers

Whether or not autonomous vehicles ever work out, the effort put into using small cameras and machine-learning algorithms to detect cars could pay off big for an unexpected group: cyclists.

Velo AI is a firm cofounded by Clark Haynes and Micol Marchetti-Bowick, both PhDs with backgrounds in robotics, movement prediction, and Uber’s (since sold-off) autonomous vehicle work. Copilot, which started as a “”pandemic passion project”” for Haynes, is essentially car-focused artificial intelligence and machine learning stuffed into a Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 and boxed up in a bike-friendly size and shape.

While car-detecting devices exist for bikes, including the Garmin Varia, they’re largely radar-based. That means they can’t distinguish between vehicles of different sizes and only know that something is approaching you, not, for example, how much space it will allow when passing.

Receive Our Newsletter

Get the latest Safety21 news sent to your inbox.