Skry

See, hear, ride. The first hazard reporting system designed with the rider in mind.

 

Timeline

16 weeks

Key Activities

Interaction Design, Research, Prototyping, Evaluation

Key Deliverables

The Team

Bonny Christopher, Chris Chung, Ryan Gerber

Sponsors

 

 

Few things compare to the experience of riding. From the feel of the bike beneath your body, to the way the tires grab the road as you round into a curve, nothing compares to the visceral immersion with the environment as the wind blows past your body. Yet, any feelings of exuberance and liberation aside, motorcyclists find themselves in dangerous and even life-threatening situations on a daily basis.

Unlike with cars, motorcycles afford little ability to shield the rider from the elements and accidents. The motorcyclists must constantly be aware of their current performance, their surroundings, and other vehicles on the road; all of which can be cognitively taxing in the best of situations. Our goal was to to create a product that would not interfere with the experience of motorcycling but add to it by making the rider smarter and supporting them in their decision making.

 

The Process

Our process for this journey is rooted in the principles of human-centered design, beginning with deep exploration and research, to dreaming and ideating rich new concepts, through to actually building and testing working prototypes with riders. 

 

Understanding the riders

We utilized both primary and secondary research methods to help us gain a holistic understanding of the problem space. In addition to literature reviews in six different areas including topics such as safety research, distraction, and rider culture, we talked to experts and motorcyclists to gather information through the form of user interviews and survey to learn about riding behaviors and the underlying causes of the problem.

Triangulate findings from our research activities, we found the following three key insights. 

 
Riding requires a high level of situational awareness
Motorcyclists engage with four out of the five senses while riding, there is a lot of information that the rider needs to be aware of, that’s constantly changing, which can lead to cognitive overload.
Technology should be informative and functional
Reliance of system could lead to degradation in riding skills. Additionally, a successful system designer should shorten the time bewteen intent and action, and anticipate the needs of the rider to help them make quick and accurate decisions.
Riding is a way of life
All of the riders we interviewed stated that one of the main reasons for riding was the sense of freedom and oneness with the road. We can also deduce that riding is worth the risk for many; given that a rider is 26 times more likely to die in an accident, the rate of motorcycle registration is still increasing (NHTSA, 2015).
 
 
How could we provide information about a motorcyclist’s environment that could aid in his or hers situational awareness while riding?

We realized that a successfully design should be proactive, unobtrusive, and design with the rider in mind

 

The Concept

System Map

Skry is an advanced awareness and hazard reporting system for motorcyclists that leverages map, weather, and traffic data, as well as crowdsourced feedback from other riders, to alert a rider of what’s up ahead on their route. Fueled through the Skry mobile app, Skry first allows rider to choose the best route for them based on data that has been collected. While on the road, the rider receives messages about impending hazards and events, and can alert others of them.

The Skry system tags the hazards time and location and immediately makes this information available to others on the road. Post ride, they can view information about their ride, see relevant stats and behaviors, as well as review or amend any of the hazards they reported.

 

System Components

Designing for riders means creating a clean, minimal experience to assist situational awareness when riding. Skry interacts with the riders primarily through a voice interface, a secondary peripheral heads up display allows the rider to interact and get real-time feedback from the system. As such, the riders doesn’t need to take their eyes off the road in order to understand the nature of the event.


Component 1: Mobile Application

The rider interacts with the mobile application before and after the ride. During the ride, the smartphone will play a passive role, as it is very dangerous for riders to be looking at a mobile screen while riding. 

It has three main sections: Map, Trip, and Profile. The Map section is where the rider inputs the destination, and views current hazards on the road. They are able to select potential routes they might take, with the current hazards along each route shown.

Pre-ride mobile interaction

After they’ve selected a route, they will begin the navigation.  Once the ride has been completed, they will be provided with a recap of their trip, based on the data collected from the app. If they have any reports that they wish to fix or update, they will be able to make those change here. The trip will then be saved in the Trip section, so that it can be viewed at a later date if necessary. If the rider has any settings they wish to customize, such as the frequency of alerts, or switching to only tone-based alerts instead of system messages, they will be able to make those changes in the Profile section.

Post-ride mobile interaction

 

Component 2 & 3: Voice Interface and Heads-up Display

When the rider is able to report, they will say “Skry Report,” which places a geotag at the location within a 1/2 mile radius around each end to indicate a hazard zone.  The system will prompt the rider to record a message, stating “Please report the hazard.” This will be accompanied by a visual cue in the hud, which will consist of a microphone icon to indicate the system is listening and recording. The rider will then record a message regarding what they encountered, which will be parsed for key terms using natural language processing to form a concise message for the next rider.   For example, if the rider says, “Lots of tree branches on the road, in the right lane”, the system would know to classify tree branches as debris. Once the message has been recorded, and 2 seconds have elapsed, Skry will acknowledge it has received the message by replying to the user with “Report Confirmed.”

When the rider is able to report, they will say “Skry Report,” which places a geotag at the location within a 1/2 mile radius around each end to indicate a hazard zone.  The system will prompt the rider to record a message, stating “Please report the hazard.” This will be accompanied by a visual cue in the hud, which will consist of a microphone icon to indicate the system is listening and recording. The rider will then record a message regarding what they encountered, which will be parsed for key terms using natural language processing to form a concise message for the next rider.  

For example, if the rider says, “Lots of tree branches on the road, in the right lane”, the system would know to classify tree branches as debris. Once the message has been recorded, and 2 seconds have elapsed, Skry will acknowledge it has received the message by replying to the user with “Report Confirmed.”

When another rider comes along, they will receive the message “Debris up ahead, right lane” a half mile before entering the hazard zone. Upon entry an auditory alert and visual cue will be presented.  As they exit the zone, the visual cue will disappear and they will be asked if the hazard is still present. This information will allow the system to know when the hazard no longer needs to be relayed to others. 

When another rider comes along, they will receive the message “Debris up ahead, right lane” a half mile before entering the hazard zone. Upon entry an auditory alert and visual cue will be presented. 

As they exit the zone, the visual cue will disappear and they will be asked if the hazard is still present. This information will allow the system to know when the hazard no longer needs to be relayed to others. 

 
Details about how we hack our way through various constraints to prototype and evaluate our design and many more to come...
The Team.

The Team.