Hövding App makes cycling even safer

Hövding App makes cycling even safer

Hövding Magazine / Inspiration

When you buy a Hövding, you can pair it with the Hövding App and get access to your cycling statistics and other smart features.

For example, if you are in an accident and your Hövding inflates, the app automatically sends a text message to your selected ICE (In Case of Emergency) contacts to let them know where you are. By sharing your cycling data with us at Hövding, you are also contributing to our long-term goal of making cities safer for cyclists. Heino Wendelrup, Technical Development Manager at Hövding, talks here about the work on the app and how data from millions of kilometres of cycling helps urban planners in their road safety work.

“The Hövding App notifies selected ICE contacts if you have an accident.”

Features based on user requests
The Hövding App was developed in parallel with the Hövding 3. The idea was to use Bluetooth to communicate information between the Hövding 3 and various features in the app. The work began by investigating what features users might be interested in.  Heino Wendelrup explains:

– We started the concept work with a number of brainstorming sessions. We built user scenarios and put together simple PowerPoint presentations online that test riders had to go through to identify the features they found most relevant.

Based on the requests and ideas that emerged in this phase of the development work, a number of features were selected. Added to this were additional service features that we at Hövding wanted to include, such as advanced FAQs with video and an easy way to report issues to customer service via the app. Heino elaborates:

– The app also allows us to see how each Hövding is doing and to update the software without the user having to hand in their Hövding. We simply send an update notification via the app, which the user then accepts.

“All Hövding owners are cyclists who contribute to reducing global CO2 emissions.”

Amazing data
All Hövding owners are cyclists who are helping reduce CO2 emissions worldwide. When they link their Hövding to the Hövding App, we can (with each user’s consent, of course) collect lots of interesting and positive data. For example, to date, the global Hövding community has reduced global CO2 emissions by 1.7 million tonnes compared to driving the same distance by car. That is just one of the amazing figures that are constantly being updated in the Hövding App. Another is that, since the launch of the Hövding 3, Hövding owners have cycled a total of 170 times around the world on over a million bike rides!

Reactive and active protection
Hövding primarily offers users safety with its reactive protection when an accident occurs and the Hövding inflates. But the development of the app also opened up the possibility of offering active protection. Heino explains:

– If you fall and the Hövding inflates, the app automatically sends a text message to your ICE contacts. The message states what has happened and where you are. In this way, in addition to protecting you reactively in the event of a fall, the Hövding also provides active protection by notifying your friends and family so that they can take action.

“At Hövding, we have a vision of proactive protection that prevents accidents from happening in the first place.”

Proactive protection prevents accidents
In addition to reactive and active protection, we at Hövding have a vision of proactive protection that prevents accidents from happening in the first place. The app can contribute to this through the data collected from users. This is how it works: when a Hövding inflates in an accident, or when it detects abnormal behaviour by the cyclist, it records the location and the irregularity of the behaviour. The data is sent to our database and over time patterns emerge in the city map showing how and when people cycle, and where there are more incidents than elsewhere. Heino describes the idea behind this:

– When we started developing the app, we imagined being able to warn cyclists when they are approaching a place in town where accidents have happened before, so they could avoid having an accident themselves. We haven’t really got that far yet, but by collecting data we can get a picture of the city from a cyclist’s perspective and share this data with urban planners and road safety researchers.

“We and our users are helping improve conditions for all cyclists so that they can ride more safely in the city.”

A dream for urban planners
As Hövding wearers generate more and more data, several cities have shown an interest in collaborating with us at Hövding on cycle safety. By analysing our data, urban and traffic planners can understand cyclists’ behaviour better, address street environments that have been shown to have an increased risk of accidents and plan safer traffic solutions in the future. Heino continues:

– In this way, we and our users are helping improve conditions for all cyclists so they can ride more safely in the city, which feels great. The goal is for no one to end up in a situation in which our product is activated.

Hövding supports various research projects
The Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute (VTI) is conducting a research project to find out where cycle accidents often occur and why. Using the data we have collected, they can contact and interview people who have been involved in a specific accident and get important information about the circumstances at the scene. Another study, which is being carried out at Malmö University, is examining how our data on accident hotspots corresponds to the emergency services’ call-outs. The study has already shown a high level of agreement between the two databases, indicating that our data is reliable and relevant. In a third project at Esslingen University of Applied Sciences in Germany, our data is being used in various database analyses to find the best input values for an algorithm that can predict accidents. Heino concludes:

– It’s fantastic that we can contribute to greater road safety, not only with our product, but also with our users’ shared data. It is wonderful that this ‘by-product’ of Hövding and the Hövding App can be used in so many different ways and have a long-term impact on road safety in cities.

Read more about the Hövding App and its features here