I'm looking into proximity sensors for bicycle attachments. The idea is to detect when a car passes close by to a rider. What are some types of proximity sensors that would be:

  1. Cheap
  2. Range up to 2 meters
  3. Resistant to weather or can be put inside a protective enclosure and still work
  4. Works with relative motion between sensor and target
  5. Works with rain or high humidity (morning fog) between sensor and target

I also welcome you to propose other considerations I haven't listed above.

  • Just buy a Garmin Varia Radar, the new ones support both ANT+ and BLE
    – hardillb
    Jan 25 at 11:25
  • @hardillb more looking at sensors that I can order as parts to build into something. In that sense, the Garmin is certainly not cheap Jan 25 at 12:57
  • 1
    The radar in that device is still probably the best fit for your use case and constraints. See the link in this question for an example of one that can be purchased iot.stackexchange.com/questions/5445/…
    – hardillb
    Jan 25 at 13:25
  • You may want to think about exactly where (relative to the bike) you want to detect the other vehicle (sides, back, or in between), which may depend on why you want the sensor (warning that a vehicle is approaching from behind, measure the lateral distance between the vehicle and you...).
    – jcaron
    Jan 25 at 16:49
  • the Range up to 2 meters seems awfully close
    – jsotola
    Jan 25 at 19:53

There are quite a few technologies that can be used, though I'm not sure about the impact of some of your conditions (e.g. weather) on their operation. Here are a few:

  • Laser time-of-flight. Sends a laser pulse, checks how long it takes to come back, and tell you the distance between the sensor and the object. Very narrow beam.

  • Ultrasonic time-of-flight. Similar, but uses (inaudible) sound. Has a slightly wider beam.

  • Doppler radar. Similar, but in addition to distance, it also measures the difference between the frequency of the pulse sent and that of the echo received, which tells you the relative speed (in the direction of the signal).

  • Video camera with shape recognition. Probably doesn't qualify for cheap.

You can of course derive speed from the variations in distance for the first two, but it probably won't be as precise and quick.

You can find many of such sensors on Adafruit, Sparkfun, etc, and they are relatively cheap. But I have no idea what the impact of rain or fog may be on them. Note that they are all "active" sensors, which need power to transmit a signal before then receiving a response back, so battery operation may raise its own challenges.

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