Imagine a device that alerted you when cars were approaching and could indicate how fast they were moving? Not only that but as the vehicles approached you on your bike, your tail light would automatically change in pattern to warn motorist of your presence. It may sound like something out of a scifi movie, but that’s exactly what iKubu has been working on. When we first learned about the Backtracker in June of 2014, the company had working prototypes and have since been working toward bringing it to production.
We’re not sure if they saw this coming, but it was just announced that the Stellenbosch, South African based has been acquired by Garmin. Whether this means Garmin will continue with the Backtracker design remains to be seen, but the company seems particularly interested in the idea of a low power radar system with Garmin’s president and CEO Cliff Pemble stating,
“iKubu has found a way to implement short-range radar into a low-power system that addresses a common concern among cyclists – identifying potential hazards that are approaching them from behind. We are delighted to add this technology to the Garmin portfolio.”
The announcement comes shortly after Garmin had a big showing at CES with an expanded range of wearable electronics. At this rate, it won’t be long until Garmin could offer a fully connected cycling experience, with everything controlled from your wrist or your handlebar…
SCHAFFHAUSEN, Switzerland & STELLENBOSCH, South Africa–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Garmin Ltd. (NASDAQ: GRMN) today announced that it has acquired the assets of iKubu (Pty) Ltd., a privately-held designer of computer vision and radar systems for the cycling market.
iKubu was in the final stages of developing the Backtracker low-energy bike radar, a device that provides unparalleled situational awareness by giving the cyclist the speed and distance of vehicles that are approaching from behind. The road is scanned by a rear-facing radar module that also doubles as a dynamically flashing caution light, and the information is sent wirelessly to a handlebar-mounted head unit.
“iKubu has found a way to implement short-range radar into a low-power system that addresses a common concern among cyclists – identifying potential hazards that are approaching them from behind,” said Cliff Pemble, Garmin’s president and CEO. “We are delighted to add this technology to the Garmin portfolio.”
“Garmin is a technological leader among cyclists, and we are looking forward to integrating our technology and expertise into their outstanding products,” said Franz Struwig, managing director of iKubu. “Garmin gives us the resources to develop, bring to market, and showcase our products that we otherwise would not have.”
Most of the former employees of iKubu will become employees of Garmin’s existing subsidiary in South Africa and will continue to operate primarily as a research and development center based in Stellenbosch, South Africa. Financial terms of the acquisition will not be released.
For 25 years, Garmin has pioneered new GPS navigation and wireless devices and applications that are designed for people who live an active lifestyle. Garmin serves five primary business units, including automotive, aviation, fitness, marine, and outdoor recreation. For more information, visit Garmin’s virtual pressroom at garmin.com/newsroom, contact the Media Relations department at 913-397-8200, or follow us at facebook.com/garmin, twitter.com/garmin, or youtube.com/garmin.