Jaguar Land Rover's latest project uses in-car alerts to protect cyclists

Billy Steele
B. Steele|01.20.15

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Jaguar Land Rover's latest project uses in-car alerts to protect cyclists

Jaguar Land Rover has done quite a bit of work in automotive safety with its Virtual Windscreen project, but now, the company is looking to protect cyclists. Bike Sense, the automaker's newest R&D concept, uses a series of in-car alerts to warn the driver of an approaching cyclist or motorcyclist. Sensors on the outside of the car detect the biker's movement, and when they get close, a bicycle bell or motorcycle horn blasts from the speaker closest to their location. When someone is coming up from behind, an air cushion inside the seat "taps" the driver on the shoulder on the appropriate side. There's also a collection of LED lights on the window sills that change from yellow to red when the bike approaches, and their movement shows the path that person is going to take.

But what about busy city intersections where the driver cannot see all of the bikers or pedestrians? Bike Sense uses those directional lights and sounds to indicate potential hazards, and can prioritize them based on what's closest. If warnings are ignored, the system vibrates the accelerator pedal and can cause it to feel stiff, keeping the driver from moving the vehicle forward. Lastly, the tech can also keep folks from opening doors and hitting cyclists. The usual sound and light in is play here too, but once a passenger grasps a handle, it'll light up and vibrate to indicate someone is in danger of being struck. Jaguar Land Rover says that by using sounds associated with bike and motorcycles alongside warnings that are felt rather than an icon on the dash, Bike Sense allows for faster reaction time to cut down on accidents. The system is very much a proof of concept that's still in the research phase, but the hopefully future models will include similar warnings.

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