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Commuting in peace: Oxymoron or Opportunity?

Commuting in peace: Oxymoron or Opportunity?

An average two-wheeler commuter spends ~ 500 hours in traffic every year. In most cases, that’s 500 hours of irritation and a face that resembles a dark-red angry emoji thanks to heat, dust and crawling traffic. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could place the commuters in a cocoon of comfort – help them put these hours spent on the road to better use while keeping their eyes focused on the road? One aspect of such a cocoon is easy-to-access infotainment – could be listening to favorite tracks or podcasts, not having the anxiety of missing out on important messages or a simple way to run a routine for commute-related tasks that are repetitive.

BLU3 E20 does all of this and - just as importantly - sets the stage for an ever-growing, upgradeable-through-the-app experience for the commuter. At the heart of this is Situation Awareness – an understanding of the commuter/rider’s state and context. 

In our last blog, we explained how we used context awareness to achieve a single, large, click-surface for activating all rider intents. In the larger context of things, that is one step towards providing our riders with the right help/service in the right situation. The end-goal is the range of services that can be offered to the rider, but before we get there, let us understand what situation-awareness means.

What is Situation Awareness?

 The first step to offering effective assistance is situation awareness, i.e., understanding the rider/commuter’s current state/context. In our view, the rider’s current state is decided by the following factors

  • Phone status
    Is the rider listening to music? Is s/he on a phone call? Are there any phone notifications?
      • Ride metrics
        Level 0: how long has s/he been riding? Current/max/average speed?
        Level 1: What was the tilt at that turn?
        • Location
        • Time of the day
        • Weather
        • Traffic conditions
        • Health of the motorcycle
          How much fuel/charge is left or distance to empty, for example

            Different contexts that are at play for Situation Awareness of the rider/commuter at any given time

             

            Figure 1: Situation Awareness - the set of parameters that helps us get a better understanding of the situation that the rider might be in at any given time.

             

            We use these factors (not all of them are factored in at this time, but will be over time) to determine the rider’s current state/context. Once we have this situational awareness in hand, we use it to deliver the right services at the right time/place/context.


            What services will the BLU3 E20 offer that sets it apart?

            Most headsets available in the market today stop at being just that -- a headset that allows you to play music, receive phone calls, and hear turn-by-turn directions. They don’t do any better as they are designed with a simplistic view of the smartphone as a voice and media device. In sharp contrast, BLU3 E20 likens the smartphone to a pocket-sized supercomputer that can be effectively employed to dramatically alter the riding experience for two-wheeler riders.


            BLU3 E20 uses this view to offer riders several features that are first of its kind in this market segment.

            1. Record geo-tagged voice notes and get reminded

            BLU3 E20 allows you to record a voice note that is location-aware. The voice note you record is tagged with your current geolocation and saved on your phone; when you approach that location again, the voice note will be automatically played to you -- creating your very own location-specific reminder system. You can use this reminder system to suit your needs - want to be reminded about picking up groceries as you approach the supermarket on your way back from office? See a lot of interesting things when you ride out and want to keep track of things you can explore? This feature is just right for you.

            2. Read your Whatsapp Messages 

            All you need to do is grant access to the notifications, and the companion app will read your WhatsApp messages as they arrive. We understand that groups can be very noisy - the app only reads messages from individual contacts on your phone. The reading feature is supported on both Android and iOS devices. On Android phones, you can respond to the sender with an auto-response text, call the sender or share your live location.

            3. Dynamic Fan and Volume Controls

            BLU3 E20 provides you visor-down comfort by flowing cool, clean air into your helmet. The rate of cool air flowing into your helmet depends on the fan setting (generated flow) and your riding speed (natural flow). When the natural flow is high, there is no need for generated flow and BLU3 E20 shuts off the fan to conserve battery. When you are stuck in traffic, there is no natural flow and you are completely dependent on the generated flow. BLU3 E20 recognizes this and will immediately switch to “Beast-mode” giving you the maximum generated flow possible. This ability to dynamically adjust the fan speed helps BLU3 E20 provide effective cooling over a long period of time.


            On the subject of dynamic control, it is worth mentioning that we have also addressed another rider pain-point. The desired volume is a function of the ambient noise and one of the biggest factors that impact ambient noise is the riding speed. We have implemented dynamic control for the volume that will give riders the best listening experience across riding speeds.

            4. Play your favorite routines

            Most of us have a set of tasks we want to do on our daily rides so we thought why not automate it and define the context or trigger to decide when to start the routine. For example, a Ride-start routine may announce the weather, remind you about your time to commute to work or home, and then start playing your favorite music, or podcast. You may be able to define new routines that fit you, so we are looking forward to hearing from our early testers on how we can make these routines more interesting and more personalized for your liking.

            What’s Next?

            We had listed the different factors that we consider while determining the rider’s state/context. The logical journey for us is to continuously refine the way we use these different factors, and get deeper in quantifying each factor. 


            Some example scenarios that we hope will play out:

            1. Can an electric bike tell the user that it is low on charge, and ask the user if s/he would like to switch to a different mode? (Eco mode, instead of Sport mode)
            2. Can we detect a crash and trigger an emergency response?
            3. Can a rider get access to the closest roadside assistance through a single click?

            BLU3 E20 is future-proofed with over-the-air (OTA) updates for firmware and software. This will allow us to continuously keep improving the experience for our BLU3 E20 customers.


            BLU3 E20 is powered by a number of key technology IPs and blends the best of mechanical, industrial, embedded electronics and software design to offer unparalleled comfort to two-wheeler riders. Find out more about it, sign up and be the first to get it. Lines are filling up fast, so don’t blame us if you have to wait later.