Jaguar Land Rover is looking into technologies that could make life safer for motorists and cyclists as part of a research project called Bike Sense.
Jag’s Advanced Research Centre in the UK wants to make the process of alerting a driver to a potential hazard more natural. One example involves the top section of a car seat moving forward to tap the driver on the shoulder if a bicycle is detected, making the driver turn to look.
Another involves making the sound of a bicycle bell or motorbike horn from the car’s speakers, with the sound played loudest through the speaker closest to where the cyclist is.
The system then uses a series of matrix LED lights in the dashboard, window sills and windscreen pillars that start at amber before turning to red as the cyclist gets closer, indicating the level of danger. Not only do the lights change colour, they mimic the direction of travel the biker is taking.
In the event of multiple perceived hazards, Jaguar says the system prioritises the closest so the cabin is unlikely to become a mobile disco.
The system is able to detect a cyclist, biker or pedestrian even if something is obscuring your view. It can even warn you not to open your door if someone is going past.
Fail to heed the warnings and the accelerator pedal will vibrate or become stiff. In the case of a cyclist going by when trying to get out, the door handle vibrates and the aforementioned LEDs come on.
Jaguar Land Rover research and technology director Dr Wolfgang Epple said: “Bike Sense takes us beyond the current technologies of hazard indicators and icons in wing 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. If you see the dashboard glowing red in your peripheral vision, you will be drawn to it and understand straight away that another road user is approaching that part of your vehicle.”
Bike Sense is a logical step for improving safety, especially when 19,000 cyclists are killed or seriously injured every year – right up until driver turns it off after the hundredth bicyle bell ding.
No word just yet on if and when Bike Sense will be coming to a production Jaguar.