While Garmin's Varia Rearview Radar alerts cyclists to cars coming up from behind, the iLumaware Shield TL alerts cars to cyclists in the road — and, ideally, can prevent accidents by alerting the driver or initiating braking. That is the vision of creator Chris Mogridge, who is launching the Shield TL on KickStarter this month.
Initial prototypes look like a large tail light — and the Shield TL has a tail light — but the device works by enhancing the radar signal of vehicles equipped with Collision Avoidance System (CAS) technology.
iLumaware claims that more than 470 car models sold in the US this year come with CAS. CAS can prompt a vehicle to brake when it senses a large object in its immediate path.
“Four years ago my friend and now one of my business partners, Alexis Stobbe, who is a former F-18 fighter pilot, had the idea of applying radar technology to improve cycling safety,” Mogridge told BikeRadar. “We were both aware of the upcoming shift in automobile technology with the introduction of collision prevention technologies like Automatic Braking and Brake Assist systems. All of these collision-prevention technologies rely on the use of radar technologies that [are] installed in a range of places on the vehicle.”
“Both of us are avid cyclists and given my current experience in the industry, Alexis asked me if I thought this was a good idea,” Mogridge said. “I am pretty sure I dropped my beer because I instantly thought of a million different applications for this type of technology. At this point we had two recent ghost bikes [markers for where a rider has been killed – ed.] added to our community, so we both decided to pursue the idea in an effort to have a legitimate impact in the collision prevention space and restore confidence to people that enjoy cycling on the road.”
The concept of the Shield TL is to effectively make a bike about ten times larger in the ‘view’ of a vehicle’s radar, giving the driver and the vehicle more time to react.
The tail light portion of the Shield TL runs at a claimed 80 lumens and is rechargeable via USB.
iLumaware is seeking US$70,000 on KickStarter to put the Shield TL into production.