New car tech helps drivers avoid bikes and motorcycles

  • AFP
  • Updated: Jan 21, 2015 11:26 IST

Jaguar Land Rover has introduced an innovative technology aimed at preventing cars from colliding with bikes, motorcycles or scooters, in part by alerting drivers through a virtual tap on the shoulder or a sound like a bicycle bell.

Still in the testing phase, the Bike Sense concept uses visual, audio and touch signals to alert the driver to the presence of a two-wheeled vehicle.

The system uses multiple sensors on all sides of the car to detect other vehicles and analyze whether some of them are bikes (motorized or not). If they are, the system alerts the driver to the potential danger through a range of different signals.

First, the car's stereo system emits the sound of a bicycle bell or a motorcycle horn from the direction of the potential obstacle. When the vehicle is passed by a bike or motorcycle on the right or the left, the driver receives a light tap on the corresponding shoulder through a mechanism built into the seat.

Moreover, as a bike gets closer to the car, an LED Matrix changes the color of areas of the window sills, windshield pillars and dashboard nearest the danger from yellow (moderate distance) to red (dangerously close). The colors then fade as the biker rides away.

Additional alerts are also in the mix, including a specific beep when there is a bike in the blind spot and the user attempts to open the door, as well as a vibration in the gas pedal when a change of trajectory could cause an accident.

Jaguar Land Rover is not the first manufacturer to develop smart technology aimed at making the roads safer for bikers and motorcyclists. At CES 2015, Volvo revealed a different approach: a solution that connects car drivers and cyclists into the same system to reduce the risk of accidents.

For the cyclist, the technology takes the form of a smart helmet controlled via mobile app and connected to Volvo's processing system in the cloud. When the bike is in the car's blind spot, both the cyclist and the car driver receive an instant warning so that action can be taken to avoid a collision.

Vulnerable users (cyclists and pedestrians) account for half of all road fatalities worldwide, according to the WHO report on the development of road safety in 2013. In some countries, these cases even account for 75% of deaths on the road.

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