Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Unis to share $1.65m motorbike safety sensor system research grant

The Federal Government has awarded Forcite Helmet Systems Pty Ltd (Forcite), Western Sydney University, Macquarie University, the University of Canberra, and industry partners more than $1.65 million in funding as part of a Cooperative Research Centres Project (CRC-P) grant to help reduce motorcycle accidents and fatalities with an advanced rider assistance system.

Forcite is partnering with the three universities, Transport for NSW, APPRO Photoelectron Inc., NSW Smart Sensing Network (NSSN), and Harley Davidson Australia over the multi-stage project to develop a next generation smart helmet and sensing system to pre-empt and identify hazards, such as debris and other road users, and alert riders so they can take evasive action. The cooperative project is worth a total of $5,654,275.

The research project will consist of two stages broken into detection and intervention, with Associate Professor John Cass and Dr Tomas Trescak, researchers from the Western Sydney University’s MARCS Institute for Brain, Behaviour and Development, School of Computer, Data and Mathematical Sciences and School of Psychology, to employ neuroscientific principles to evaluate the effects of different types of helmet-based heads-up display information on rider behaviour and cognition using a custom-designed motorcycle simulation environment.

Associate Professor Cass, MARCS Institute for Brain, Behaviour and Development and School of Psychology, said neuroscientific and immersive reality expertise within Western Sydney University would guide the development and responsiveness of the next generation Forcite smart helmet.

“Neuroscientific principles – the rules that the brain uses to process, combine and respond to sensory information – will play an important role in designing an effective helmet heads-up display system that will improve safety and minimise distractions for the rider,” said Associate Professor Cass.

Dr Tomas Trescak, School of Computer, Data and Mathematical Sciences (pictured, right), said, “We also aim to devise technological specifications guidelines for smart-helmet technologies. To accomplish this, we will create new rider simulation environments for our testing and validation protocols.”

Forcite CEO and Co-Founder, Alfred Boyadgis, said that with motorcycle fatalities currently 30 times higher than other road users, it was time to take action.

“By bringing together cutting-edge smart helmet technology and advanced rider assistance systems, we can help pre-empt hazards, enabling swift evasive action,” he said.

“Along with the brightest minds in the industry, we’re proud to lead the charge in reducing risk and increasing the joy of riding. Forcite’s partnership with Australian universities, Harley-Davidson Australia, and Transport for NSW, backed by the CRC-P grant, will change the game for motorcycle safety.”

As part of the innovative project, the University of Canberra’s Human-Centred Technology (HCT) Research Centre will lead the detection stage to develop a smart sensing system that will recognise other road users and hazards on the road.

Professor Anina N Rich, from Macquarie University’s School of Psychological Sciences, together with a grant-funded postdoctoral fellow, will draw on expertise in sensory and cognitive processing to support the cutting-edge project.

In a laboratory environment, the team will use cognitive science measures of attention and cognitive load, such as response time, accuracy, and eye movements, to optimise the delivery of information from the smart helmet to the rider.

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