Posted Jan 31st 2015 12:01PM
Safety in automobiles isn't just about protecting the occupants anymore. It's about protecting pedestrians who might be struck by an automobile, and as Jaguar Land Rover is demonstrating, it's about protecting cyclists as well.
The latest experimental safety system from the British automaker is called Bike Sense, and it builds upon technologies the company has demonstrated recently, taking them a step further to make the road safer for those riding on two wheels. The system uses a combination of colors, sounds and vibrations to alert the driver of a potential hazard that might have otherwise gone unnoticed.
Demonstrated on an XJ sedan, the system identifies nearby two-wheeled vehicles as pedal-powered or motorized, and alerts the driver accordingly. If a cycle is passing a the vehicle's blind spot, the top of the seat will vibrate to virtually "tap" the driver on the left or right shoulder, prompting him or her to look over that shoulder for the hazard. LEDs inside the cabin will then illuminate amber to red in the direction that the bike is passing.
The system will even chime a bicycle bell or motorcycle horn as the two-wheeled vehicle approaches, and vibrate or stiffen the accelerator pedal if the driver keeps moving towards the obstacle. And if an occupant of the parked vehicle starts to open the door into the path of moving vehicle, it'll flash a light, sound an alarm and even vibrate the door handle to warn the occupant of the oncoming hazard.
We could imagine the alerts getting a little distracting, but JLR says the system is designed to prioritize potential hazards when their are groups of pedestrians, bicyclists and/or motorcycle riders on a busy urban street.
This is, of course, just the latest in a long string of new systems JLR has under development, following such technologies as the Transparent Bonnet, the Smart Assistant, the Virtual Windscreen for track sessions and the 360 Virtual Urban Windscreen for city driving.