Crashed? Need help? There's an app for that

Mike Vaughan
Publish Date: 
Apr 23, 2013
By Mike Vaughan

ONE OF THE SPECIAL joys of riding a motorcycle is finding a lonely road in the middle of nowhere. There’s no traffic, the towns are miles apart, and it’s just you, nature and the pavement.

But your reverie is abruptly interrupted as you’ve failed to negotiate a turn in the road and find yourself off the highway and in the woods, or a ditch, the bike’s on top of you, you’ve got a busted collarbone, broken ribs and, from the searing pain coming from your thigh, maybe a broken femur. If you’re still conscious, there’s still you cell phone, right? You can’t reach it. Now what? No one knows where you are; no one knows you need help.

There's going to be an app for that.

Canadian startup media company, EatSleepRIDE, was founded by a pair of entrepreneurs out of Toronto with the help of the Canadian Media Fund.  EatSleepRIDE is one of many enthusiast websites; what sets this one apart is that the company has also developed another app called CrashLight which can have significant impact on the riding community.

Simply put, CrashLight can sense when you’ve been in an accident and then transmit that fact, via voicemail, SMS and email, along with your GPS location to three designated addressees, including 911. 

The company monitored the riding activity of 50 riders in 10 countries on a daily basis. These riders were equipped with a harness and smart phone. Utilizing the phone’s accelerometer, gyroscope and other sensors allowed a team of engineers from the University of Toronto to analyze and map normal and abnormal riding situations, and observe single or multi-vehicle crashes. From this they created an algorithm that considers telemetrics to determine whether an accident has taken place. 

Additional testing was done with two dummies, each equipped with two iPhones -- one running the prototype software and the other the company's CrashLight program. The dummies, one weighing 50 lbs. and the other 90 lbs., both swathed in protective gear, were pitched out of the bed of a pickup at various speeds to ensure CrashLight worked as intended.

Further crash information was provided by the Canadian Ministry of Transport as well as private companies engaged in accident reconstruction. One of the most important aspects to the development was to make sure the program worked as intended. Said CEO Marina Mann, “Our main enemy was false detection for obvious reasons. We’re very excited to say we’ve reached our goal. CrashLight works.”

The basic EatSleepRIDE app lets you tell the story of your ride for other riders, including route, speed, times and whatever else you might want to add; a “record your ride” tool that tracks your motorcycle’s action during a trip, registering speed, elevation, lean angles, times and so on; and finally a program that shows the location of nearby riders using the same app. The CrashLight app is an add-on to the basic EatSleepRIDE app.

The apps were scheduled to launch sometime in April. For additional information go to app.EatSleepRIDE.com.