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Brief Published: 20 May 2014

Vanhawks Smart Bike

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Valour bicycle by Vanhawks

The Valour bicycle is the world's first smart, connected bicycle, according to its creators, Canadian startup Vanhawks.

Launched last month, the carbon fibre bicycle is specially designed for the urban commuter, featuring real-time navigation and haptic feedback to warn riders of impending danger from blind spots.

The accompanying Valour app – which connects to the bike using Bluetooth low energy – can relay a turn-by-turn route plan to the rider via indicator lights on the handlebars. Sensors at the rear of the bike detect if it veers into traffic, prompting the handlebars to vibrate in warning. (For more on haptic feedback, see The Importance of Touch.)

Activity data – including the speed, distance and time of each bike ride – can be accessed via the app, which also syncs with wearable technology such as the Pebble smartwatch. The bike also links with others nearby, using aggregated information to find the most convenient route around the local area – avoiding potential issues such as potholes or roadworks.

"With Valour, we took the great invention of the past – the bicycle – and combined it with the great invention of our time – smartphones – to create the safest ride," says Sohaib Zahid, co-founder of Vanhawks.

The bike, priced from $999 CAD ($917), has already raised more than $400,000 on crowdfunding site Kickstarter, more than three times its original $100,000 target. Vanhawks aims to start shipping the first bicycles in October 2014.

As commuters look for healthier, cleaner ways to get to work, a market for intelligent bikes is emerging. Last year Dutch manufacturer Vanmoof released an electric bike for city commuters, boasting an in-built dashboard and GPS. See The Rise of E-Bikes for more.

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