TRING-TRING! Jaguar Land Rover's new Bike Sense technology will alert a driver to a rear-approaching cyclist with the sound of a bicycle bell in the cabin. Image: Newspress / Land Rover
• JLR reveals ‘Bike Sense’ tech
• Bicycle bell alert in car cabin
• Instinctive response triggers
• Door handles to ‘buzz’
WHITLEY, England - Jaguar Land Rover has revealed its ‘Bike Sense’ research which will tap a driver on the shoulder and ring a bicycle bell in the cabin to help prevent a collision involving with a bicycle or motorcycle.
According to the automaker, nearly 19 000 cyclists are killed or injured on UK roads every year, hence JLR researchers are identifying the best warning colours and sounds that will trigger an instinctive response from the driver to prevent a collision.
VIDEO: 'Bike Sense' technology in action
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Volvo is investigating a similar system for its cars but meanwhile JLR's ‘Bike Sense’ is a concept technology being developed at JLR’s Advanced Research Centre in England. The range of new technologies will use colours, sounds and touch inside the car to alert drivers to potential hazards and prevent a collision between car and bicycle/motorcycle, JLR says.
Sensors on the car will detect when another road user is approaching and identify it as bicycle or motorcycle. Bike Sense will then make the driver aware of the hazard and its position before the driver sees it.
But rather than using a generic warning icon or sound, which takes time for the driver’s brain to process, Bike Sense uses lights and sounds that the driver will instinctively associate with the potential danger.
To help the driver understand where the bike is in relation to their car, the audio system will make it sound as if a bicycle bell or motorbike horn is coming through the speaker nearest the bike, so the driver immediately understands the direction the cyclist is coming from.
If a bicycle or motorcycle is coming up behind the car the system will detect if it is likely to overtake left or right in the traffic and the top of the car seat will extend to ‘tap’ the driver on the left or right shoulder.
Landy explained that the idea was that the driver would then instinctively look over that shoulder to identify the hazard.
As the cyclist gets closer to the car a matrix of LED lights on the window sills, facia and windscreen pillars will glow amber and then red as the bike approaches. The movement of these red and amber lights across the surfaces will also highlight the bike's direction.
JLR’s director of research and technology Wolfgang Epple said: “Human beings have developed an instinctive awareness of danger over thousands of years. Certain colours, such as red or yellow, will trigger an immediate response. And of course everyone recognises the sound of a bicycle bell.
“Bike Sense takes us beyond the current technologies of hazard indicators and icons in external mirrors to optimising the location of light, sound and touch to enhance this intuition. This creates warnings that allow a faster cognitive reaction as they engage the brain’s instinctive responses."
The automaker further explains that if a group of cyclists, motorcycles or pedestrians were moving around the car on a busy urban street, the system would prioritise the nearest hazards so the driver would not be overwhelmed or distracted with light or sound.
The system would also be able to identify hazards that the driver cannot see. If a pedestrian or cyclist is crossing the road but is obscured, for example, by a stationary vehicle the car’s sensors will detect this and draw the driver’s attention to the hazard using directional light and sound.
If the driver ignores the warnings and presses the accelerator, Bike Sense will vibrate the accelerator or make it resistant, so the driver instinctively knows not to move the car forward until the hazard has been avoided.
The programme will also help to prevent a vehicle door being opened into the path of a bike. If any passenger continues to open the door, the door handle will light up, vibrate and buzz to alert them to the danger.
Epple added: “By engaging the instincts, Bike Sense has the potential to bridge the gap between the safety and hazard detection systems in a car and the driver and passengers. This could reduce the risk of a collision with any road users by increasing making the driver's response faster and the he takes the correct action to prevent the collision.”