News story

Crash detection tech wins UK round of space business competition

Technology detecting motorbike accidents has won the UK round of the European Satellite Navigation Competition.

Technology that detects when a motorbike rider has crashed and automatically notifies the emergency services so that prompt and potentially life-saving action can be taken, has won first place in the UK round of the European Satellite Navigation Competition (ESNC).

The vulnerability of lone riders, potentially immobile after a crash and without witnesses to call for help, spurred serial entrepreneurs and motorcycle riders Zoe Farrington and Andrew Richardson to develop REALRIDER®. This industry-first app enables local Ambulance services to quickly find and treat the patient, greatly improving their chances of survival.

In the UK, motorcyclists represent one per cent of traffic on the road yet account for up to 19 per cent of fatalities. Critically motorbike riders are 35 times more likely (per mile ridden) to be killed in a road traffic accident than car occupants and over two-thirds of these fatal accidents take place on rural roads*.

With that in mind, the company developed REALsafe® crash detection technology. Embedded within REALRIDER®, REALsafe® monitors a smartphone’s accelerometer together with satellite positioning data. Key sensors in the smartphone look for changes such as rapid deceleration, a tumbling motion, followed by a period of non-movement.

When REALsafe® detects an impact, a two minute ‘crash alert’ countdown is triggered, and if the alert remains active (a rider can manually cancel), the rider’s last known GPS coordinates are communicated to the nearest ambulance control centre along with the rider’s pre-programmed phone number and medical information.

Speaking at the award ceremony in Berlin, CEO Zoe Farrington said:

Winning the UK competition is another leap forward for REALRIDER®. It enables us to keep pace with developments in satellite navigation technology and links us to a new European network. Our focus has been on the UK motorcycle user to start with but this technology can easily be scaled into Europe and other markets including cycling and horse riding.

Realsafe Technologies beat 57 entries to be crowned the 2015 UK champion of the ESNC, winning £5,000 and business support for REALRIDER® from competition partners Satellite Applications Catapult, Innovate UK, the UK Space Agency, intellectual property attorneys, Marks & Clerk, Ashby House, Airbus Defence and Space and the European Space Agency’s Business Incubation Centre.

Presenting Realsafe Technologies with their award, Stuart Martin, CEO, Satellite Applications Catapult commented:

The competition standard was high this year but Realsafe Technologies stood out from the crowd. All the judges were impressed with the simplicity of the solution, the potential wider application of the technology and the team’s passion and commercial acumen. Their unique partnership with the NHS and REALRIDER®’s integration into BT’s 999 telematics service is a tremendous achievement for a new business.

Second place was awarded to Andrea Stephenson from Farm Watcher UK for her equine tracking technology idea and third place was awarded to CareWhere Solutions for their portable GNSS smart-box technology, both of whom will receive business support from the competition partners.

Andy Proctor, Lead Technologist for Satellite Navigation at Innovate UK and panel judge commented:

As well as supporting the winning ideas, the competition partners provide feedback to every ESNC entrant. We want all those who entered the competition, with ideas we believe merit further development, to connect with the Space innovation network in the UK.

Katherine Bass, Head of Application Strategy at the UK Space Agency and panel judge commented:

This year, we evaluated ideas for agriculture, intelligent transport, environmental management and the construction industry demonstrating the breadth of potential applications for satellite technology. Competitions like the ESNC provide an opportunity for the Space sector to actively seek the business entrepreneurs that will help us achieve our ambitious goal of a £40 billion UK space sector by 2030.