It’s no secret that there tends to be some contention between drivers and cyclists, the latter of whom are often at risk of injury from drivers who fail to notice them or who don’t accurately anticipate what the cyclist is about to do. These issues-of-communication can potentially be solved with a prototype jacket recently showcased by Ford that uses emoji and traffic symbols.
Ford showcased its new prototype in a video, explaining that issues between drivers and cyclists may be at least partially alleviated if cyclists are better able to communicate with drivers. The back of the jacket features a series of built-in LEDs that work in conjunction with a controller the cyclist must mount to their bike’s handlebars.
The controller features physical buttons that the cyclist can press to cause a larger, brighter version of the symbol or emoji to appear on the back of their jacket. These symbols include arrows that serve as turn signals, a hazard triangle to make the cyclist more visible to drivers, and three emoji faces: smiling, neutral, and frowning.
The prototype jacket — which isn’t available to purchase — is part of Ford’s Share the Road initiative, which aims to make the road a less hostile place for both drivers and cyclists. It’s unclear whether Ford plans to ever commercialize this jacket, though it wouldn’t be surprising to see a similar product appear on shelves at some point.
The idea of using emoji to communicate on the road isn’t new. A concept for drivers to communicate via emoji was published several years ago; more recently, a product was launched called CarMoji that lets drivers press a button in the car’s cabin that causes a happy emoji face to appear on their rear windshield.