The third generation of Hövding’s unique airbag for urban cyclists is now being launched. It is the biggest move yet for the Swedish innovation company. After four years of research and development, the new Hövding is easier to use, can be adjusted in size, has advanced airbag technology and is equipped with Bluetooth for functions such as ICE to contact next-of-kin in the event of an accident.
“We have carried out four years of research to make the world’s safest head protection for cyclists even better. And in the eight years in which people have been cycling with a Hövding, we have gathered feedback from customers and used it in our design and development work. Our surveys of cyclists in seven major European cities show that 70% would cycle more if they felt safer. We have focused on this and want to contribute to greater safety,” says Hövding’s CEO, Fredrik Carling.
Over the years, the company has developed unique expertise in airbag technology and algorithm development. The user feedback from the two previous versions of Hövding has permitted further advances in the concept. Hövding 3 is more comfortable. Its adjustable size means that it fits perfectly around the neck. It is easier to use, has a new patented airbag, and its battery life has been extended (around 15 active hours of cycling). Another new feature is that Hövding can use Bluetooth to connect to a smartphone, creating exciting functions and new opportunities for both cyclists and the development of safer cities for cycling.
Hövding 3 launches with an app compatible with iOS and Android mobile operating systems. The app tells you how far you have cycled and the remaining battery time and can also contribute to safer cycling in the future. The cycle data we collect show us where accidents occur frequently and where there are large numbers of cyclists. It also gives us insights into how cycling infrastructure should be developed. 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.
For the development of Hövding 3, we collected more data than ever on cycle movements and accidents for the algorithm. This included staging more than 3,000 accidents with stuntmen and collecting data on over 2,000 hours of standard cycling. When Hövding has been activated, it registers movements 200 times a second. In an accident, the airbag is inflated in 0.1 seconds to enclose the head and hold the cyclist’s neck in place. 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.
“Cycling may be the answer to many of the challenges relating to the environment, congestion in cities and health, and we want to take cyclist protection to the next level. We know that safety means more than just reactive protection. We need to be proactive to improve accident statistics. Our vision is to reach out and protect many more cyclists than we do today. Hövding 3 has been developed for high volume production to meet growing demand and permit the international expansion that we are about to embark upon,” says Fredrik Carling.