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“Fleetlights” Personal Drone Can Light-Up the Way for Cyclists

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The Uk-based Fleetlights wants cyclists to feel safer riding at night, so they’ve launched a prototype drone that they hope will show cyclists the way home.

The drones are part of a series of experiments that the British insurance company, Direct Line, is carrying out to promote projects that improve  safety at night.

The Fleetlights technology is comprised of a swarm of interconnected drones equipped with high-powered lights.

The drones can be summoned on demand from a smartphone to provide lighting wherever a cyclist is traveling. The drones are low speed and low altitude, and they can adjust to a cyclist’s speed.

The Fleetlights service can dynamically adapt to your journey, lighting your way whether you are walking, cycling or driving your car,” says Fleetlight.

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The Fleetlight drones that are specifically designed to assist cyclists, weigh less than a pound, and have a maximum speed of approximately 30 mph with a range of 1.5 miles, along with a battery life that provides roughly 20-30 minutes in hover.  

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The idea is certainly intriguing, and any cyclist who travels outside of the immediate metropolitan area can certainly relate to the problem of dimly lit streets.

However, longer battery life and the ability to travel greater distance will need to be improved before the technology can truly assist cyclists.

Still, the Fleetlight concept not only represents a noble step forward in cycling safety, but it also breaks ground in areas where drone technology has yet to travel.

Indeed, Fleetlight’s technology represents the first time a fleet of drones is able to respond to a subject on the ground via new ‘rover’ technology. In addition, the advanced software also represents the first time the ‘light my way’ functionality, which can set and maintains a fixed distance ahead of the cyclist rather than behind.

“Until now, swarms of drones would only respond to a ‘master’ drone in the air,” says Fleetlight.  “Our new ‘Rover’ technology allows a swarm of drones to be responsive to a subject on the ground while remaining in formation.” Real Time Kinetics (RTK) are another innovation used by the fleet: “Smartphone GPS units are accurate to roughly an 8m radius. To achieve greater precision, Fleetlights incorporates RTK Reach Units increasing accuracy to 10-20mm,” Fleetlight explains. “This technology is currently only used for military applications. However, future smartphone technology will achieve this accuracy without this additional unit.”

You can lean more about Fleetlights by watching the videos, and by visiting their website here.

 

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