The third generation of a unique airbag for urban cyclists is launching this month. In an accident, the Hövding 3 airbagby Swedish company Hövding will inflate in 0.1 second to enclose the head and hold the cyclist’s neck in place. The third generation of the product is easier to use, can be adjusted in size and is equipped with Bluetooth.
The airbag is stored in a collar with sensors that read the cyclist’s movement pattern 200 times per second. When abnormal movement is detected, such as would be caused by an accident, it inflates, to protect the neck and head. According to studies conducted at Stanford University, the airbag technology is eight times safer than traditional bicycle helmets.
The first generation airbag for cyclists was launched eight years ago, and the company has continued to develop its expertise in airbag technology and algorithm development. CEO Fredrik Carling says, “Our surveys of cyclists in seven major European cities show that 70 percent would cycle more if they felt safer. We have focused on this and want to contribute to greater safety.”
Its new Bluetooth feature connects to a smartphone with an app compatible with iOS and Android mobile operating systems. This can inform the user how far he or she has cycled and the remaining battery time. The smart connection also offers an ICE (In Case of Emergency) function. This permits a text message to be sent to next-of-kin in the event of an accident involving airbag inflation, including the coordinates of the accident site.
The device also has a new, patented airbag, and its battery life has been extended to 12–15 active hours of cycling.
For the development of Hövding 3, the company collected data by staging more than 3,000 accidents with stuntmen and collecting data on over 2,000 hours of standard cycling. Hövding is currently used by around 185,000 cyclists and over 4,000 cyclists have recorded having been protected in accidents by a Hövding airbag.