Present what? Well a new safety technology that will help alert drivers of the presence of a cyclist in their blind spot or the possibility of an impending collision with a cyclist. You might be wondering what Volvo has up its sleeve since this technology is currently aboard many vehicles and offered as optional safety equipment for a long line of manufacturers. Some of the major differences come in the use of the technology for alerts and the way the alerts will be presented.
Rather than just altering the driver of a car that they will be colliding or have a cyclist in their area the think tank at Volvo thought it would be a great idea if the cyclist would receive alerts as well to make sure they know the car is in their path. In order to achieve this they have developed a special bicycle helmet that is fitted with sensors and has a cloud based transmitter to calculate location and proximity to vehicles to trigger the different warning systems. By placing this technology in a helmet for the rider as well as continuing to improve on the alerts for the drivers on the road, Volvo is hoping to decrease the amount of accidents caused by collisions with bicycles.
In order to make this technology possible Volvo teamed with POC who is a manufacturer of protective sports gear and the telecom company Ericsson. Using the Ericsson technology and POC equipment along with basing the alerts and GPS location through the online cloud both drivers and cyclist can be made fully aware of their proximity to each other on the road. This can be especially important when a cyclist is in the blind spot of a vehicle, the alert can inform the driver so they are aware the cyclist is in a location they cannot see, thus helping to avoid a collision that could be deadly to the cyclist.
Currently the downfall of this form of technology is the limited use. In order for it to work the system would have to be installed in every vehicle in the area and the cyclist would need to wear the correct protective helmet to ensure the system can work in concert. Even though this actual system is a prototype and probably won’t make it to production it’s pretty easy for us to see where Volvo is thinking the next safety breakthrough might be.
By unleashing this product at the International CES (Consumer Electronics Show) Volvo will be able to gain a feel for how this type of product is received by electronic companies and consumers. This may lead them back to the drawing board or it may propel them forward with this technology, either way it seems Volvo is on to something big that could really help mesh the partnership that has to take place when we all have to share the road regardless of our form of transportation.