The latest news on driverless cars, enhanced digital windshields, and a new array of sensors and smart software often leave cyclists wondering: “Sure, but will your tech help protect me?” Many of the latest safety features focus on tracking or avoiding other cars…less so for those vulnerable people on bicycles. Jaguar wants to make sure that bikes and cyclists are included with its latest work in safety called Bike Sense.
Bike Sense appears to borrow from other Jaguar technologies that are also being used to create a better safety and entertainment systems for drivers. Basically, the car uses sensors to watch the surrounding area, and then notifies the driver of any dangerous developments that they may not notice, creating more of a whole-body experience.
If a bike is passing in a blind spot, this system can activate a vibration in the driver’s seat – right side or left side – to notify them about the oncoming cyclist that they may not be able to see normally. After the buzz come the lights, little LEDS that can flicker different colors like orange or red to notify the driver about bikes. The system can also chime a bike-bell noise and even take momentary control of the accelerator pedal and slow drivers down if they appear to be driving straight into a cyclist.
The system also works for parked cars. It can make all the same lights and noises, and vibrate the door handle, if someone is about to open the door right into the path of a cyclist (a truly annoying problem for the often crowded European streets).
Bike Sense is, for now, a research project. If it actually comes to new Land Rovers in the future, it will probably be a less…immersive version. Jaguar may well be testing different types of warnings to see which drivers respond to most effectively with the least amount of annoyance. The company also wants to make sure that Bike Sense can actually sense bikes, and not just passing trees, fences, or very reflective windows.
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