It’s an unfortunate truth that motorists often just don’t see bicycles. That is why Volvo and bicycle helmet manufacturer POC are experimenting with technology that helps bikes and cars see each other.
The technology connects driver and rider through proximity alerts with the aim of reducing accidents. It will be shown at the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show in January.
By using popular smartphone cycling apps like Strava, the cyclist’s position can be shared through the Volvo cloud to the car, and vice versa. If an imminent collision is calculated, both driver and cyclist will be warned.
The Volvo driver will be alerted to a cyclist nearby through a heads-up display alert—even if the cyclist does not appear in view behind a bend or hidden by another vehicle. The cyclist will also be warned via a helmet-mounted alert light as well as vibration.
The partnership between POC and Volvo was established in January 2014 to exchange knowledge and experience to mutually explore new safety and design concepts. The initial research and development project has been focused on communication between cars and cyclists.
The technology is a useful experiment. While it will likely be years or decades before this kind of proximity warning system could be adopted by all motor vehicles (and cyclists), the fact that bike and auto manufacturers are working together bodes well for the future.