Development and Testing of an Integrated, Versatile, Bicycle-Based Data Acquisition System


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National Surface Transportation Safety Center for Excellence


The goal of this study was to develop and demonstrate the effectiveness of a novel bicycle data acquisition system (bikeDAS) to extend the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute’s expertise in instrumentation and naturalistic data collection into the realm of bicycles and other fully or partly human-powered vehicles. The methodology incorporated the identification of a series of design considerations for effective bicycle instrumentation, including weight and balance, power, data collection capability, and mount location and design. These were addressed in a series of prototype iterations, each of which included testing in on-road situations to determine areas for improvement. The final VTTI bikeDAS is based on a weatherproofed version of the VTTI MiniDAS. The MiniDAS was developed as a low-cost, self-contained data acquisition system (DAS) for use in automobiles and motorcycles and has been adapted for use on bicycles with the addition of a rechargeable battery pack that looks and mounts to the frame like a standard water bottle. It consists of a single main unit measuring approximately 165 mm by 133 mm that contains two video cameras and numerous sensors, including GPS and a multi-axis inertial measurement unit (IMU). A mounting system has been developed to allow flexibility of placement across different types of bicycles; the typical location is attached to the head tube, which allows an unobstructed forward view, as well as views of the rider’s face and hands, and approaching vehicles, depending on bicycle geometry. This report provides detail about the needs analysis, prototyping, development, and deployment phases, and discusses areas of future development and research.



transportation safety, Vulnerable road users, naturalistic driving studies, Bicycle safety