US Department of Transportation Taps Charles River Analytics to Develop Hazard Alert Software for Motorcyclists

Incorporating BARRACUDA alerts in a heads-up display lets riders receive warnings without ever taking their eyes off the road or their hands off the handlebars. Riders can interact with BARRACUDA in multiple ways—through speech, subtle gestures, and button-based controls.

Charles River Analytics was awarded a contract from the Department of Transportation for ~$250k to continue developing a cloud-based service for Bolstering Awareness with Real-Time Rider Alerting and Cueing for Upcoming Danger Avoidance (BARRACUDA) for motorcyclists.

Injury and mortality rates for motorcyclists are significantly higher than for drivers. Potholes and inclement weather that may not warrant a second thought when in a car can pose immense danger for a motorcyclist. BARRACUDA delivers timely, en route hazard alerts specially designed to minimize distraction and keep riders safe.

The BARRACUDA alerting database draws from multiple sources, including rider-reported data, real-time traffic reports, and weather forecasts—improving reporting accuracy. Charles River’s BARRACUDA is the first motorcycle hazard awareness application to utilize these resources.

This iteration of the BARRACUDA contract focuses on making Charles River’s leading-edge technology widely available in the market. Phase II ended with a successful live test of the BARRACUDA prototype at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, clearing the path to reworking the BARRACUDA Software Development Kit (SDK). In this new phase, BARRACUDA will be integrated with a variety of commercial platforms, like REVER’s popular motorcycle app currently used by millions of moto enthusiasts. This will immediately activate a critical mass of motorcyclists to support more accurate crowdsourced hazard reporting through the BARRACUDA service.


The REVER app provides route planning and tracking, as well as a social hub for motorcyclists to connect and share their rides. Users have expressed interest in a hazard alerting feature, which BARRACUDA provides.

“BARRACUDA is more than simply a Waze for motorcyclists; we’re focusing on hazards that disproportionately impact cyclists. We’ve done significant research to design an experience so riders can more safely notice and report hazards while maintaining heads-up, eyes-on-the-road riding,” said Alessandro Negri, Senior Software Engineer at Charles River and Technical Lead on the BARRACUDA effort.

The Charles River Analytics team is excited to be working with REVER and other commercial partners to deliver safety-enhancing technologies to the large moto enthusiast community using these products on a daily basis.

Contact us to learn more about BARRACUDA or Charles River Analytics’ other Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality and Human-Computer Interaction capabilities.

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