Jaguar Land Rover is using a combination of sound, light and physical stimuli – like a literal tap on the shoulder – to try and reduce accidents involving bicycles and motorcycles. The new technology is the result of research by the company into the best ways to alert drivers to hazards and prevent accidents with those on two wheels.
The tech includes door handles that buzz when opening the door could cause an accident with a passing bicycle or motorcycle, an accelerator pedal that vibrates if moving the car would cause an accident and colours and sounds to indicate passing cyclists and motorcyclists.
“Bike Sense” is a “concept technology” being developed at Jaguar Land Rover’s Advanced Research Centre in the UK. Sensors on vehicles detect cyclists and other potential hazards and alert the driver using coloured lights and familiar sounds.
For example, the audio system will make it sound as if a bicycle bell or motorbike horn is coming through the speaker nearest the bike to help the driver understand where the bike is in relation to them.
Meanwhile, if a bicycle or motorbike is coming up behind the car, Bike Sense will detect if it is overtaking or coming past the vehicle on the inside, and the top of the car seat will extend to tap the driver on the left or right shoulder. The idea is that the driver will then instinctively look over that shoulder.
As the cyclist nears the car, LED lights on the window’s sills, dashboard and windscreen pillars will glow amber and then red according to the bike’s proximity and will change according to the direction of the bike.
“Bike Sense takes us beyond the current technologies of hazard indicators and icons in wing mirrors, to optimising the location of light, sound and touch to enhance this intuition,” says Wolfgang Epple, Jaguar Land Rover’s director of research and technology. “This creates warnings that allow a faster cognitive reaction as they engage the brain’s instinctive responses. If you see the dashboard glowing red in your peripheral vision, you will be drawn to it and understand straight away that another road user is approaching that part of your vehicle.”
He says Bike Sense would also be able to identify invisible hazards, like a pedestrian or cyclist crossing the road while obscured by a stationary vehicle.
“By engaging the instincts, Bike Sense has the potential to bridge the gap between the safety and hazard detection systems in the car and the driver and their passengers,” Epple adds. “This could reduce the risk of accidents with all road users by increasing the speed of response and ensuring the correct action is taken to prevent an accident happening.”
To see Bike Sense in action take a look at the video below: