Welcome to the first entry in our Developer Blog; where you can read about the developers behind Vanhawks, and what they are working towards in the future. Today, we look at some new features that will be included in the next update courtesy of Embedded Systems Developer, Sufyan.


“In all software, it is good practise to develop with extensibility in mind” claims Sufyan Alamad. He is taking exactly that approach with a new feature which is part of the next Vanhawks release. The feature is called stand alone lighting, and it will allow you to use the Valour integrated lights without having to connect to the Vanhawks app. It is the first feature of the stand alone mode, which is planned to eventually include a rich set of functionality.


How does it work?

The stand alone state starts when you wake your bike and ride it without connecting to your phone app. When you wake your Valour, you see the LED lights flash for 25 seconds. During this time, your front and rear lights will return to your preference (the last state that you have selected in the app). If you start riding during this 25 second period, the front and rear lights will stay on and the LEDs will turn off. This feature will allow you to ride in the dark without carrying your phone

Your lights will stay on for 3 minutes after you stop. Once those 3 minutes have passed,  you will see the LED lights flash for 25 seconds before the bike falls asleep again (your front and rear lights stay on while the LEDs flash). You can connect to your bike at any time during this stand alone state.


Why are we adding this feature now?

According to Sufyan, “rider feedback is crucial in how we develop the Vanhawks platform.” Some of the feedback that our riders have given us has lead him to create the stand alone state for the Valour. Use of the lights is important. More important is to have use of the lights regardless of whether you have your phone with you or are able to connect to your bike. Included in the feature is the fact that the default setting will be “lights on” if your Valour connection is interrupted, reducing the chance that you will be left without lights on dark rides.

In order to deliver the stand alone lighting, Sufyan had to define the stand alone state as part of the firmware update. “It’s like a puzzle, you can’t just remove or add features. You want to add everything in an architectural way to support the next features,” explains Sufyan. “The vision is that there will be a very traditional cycling experience while still getting all the benefit of the features of the Valour. Perhaps in the future, you will be able to ride without your phone and have the ride metrics upload automatically once you are in range of a trusted network.” For now, the lights are a great place to start.


What else is included in this update?

Most of the improvements in the next update will not be immediately obvious. However, they are significant in improving the overall experience of riding the Valour. For example, according to Sufyan, “we completely re-hauled the Bluetooth chip update process. It is now more interactive, informing the user of what’s going on. It’s also significantly more stable.” Updates after this one should be faster and easier to complete.

The focus of the update is on stability and future performance. For example, the bluetooth communications have been completely redesigned to be much more stable. Any other significant features, such as rear blind spot monitoring, have been pushed back. The most important thing is to achieve a stable platform that performs well before adding in new features.


When will this release be available?

Part of the focus on increased stability is an increase in Quality Assurance. That means longer and more rigorous testing so that we can be sure we are releasing true improvements. The upcoming release is still in internal testing and may require a little further refinement before a public release. As a result, we can not give an exact date at this time but, we hope to have it available in the coming weeks.

We’ll be posting more information about our progress and future updates soon. For now, back to work on project: TruthOwl (more on that later).