Jaguar Land Rover "Bike Sense" aims to save cyclists' lives

In the UK alone, a recorded staggering 19,000 cyclists are killed or injured each year, making what is in theory a healthy lifestyle also a dangerous one. That is why Jaguar Land Rover is investing in research and automotive technology that aims to make roads a safer place for cyclists, not by simply relegating them to a part of the road but by helping inform drivers of oncoming bikers. They're calling it Bike Sense and it gives drivers a sort of sixth sense, thanks to advancements in driver assistance technologies.

At the heart of Bike Sense is a car sensor, a technology that is becoming commonplace in the latest car models, if not concept cars. The specific job of the sensor is to identify if an approaching vehicle is a bicycle or a motor bike and, if so, inform the driver. What sets Bike Sense apart is not in the identification of cyclists but in how it passes on the information to drivers.

Jaguar Land Rover's researchers believe that simple beeps or visual indicators just don't cut it. In fact, they might prove even more distracting and dangerous for both the car driver and the cyclist. Instead, they have identified the lights and sounds that are both familiar to a driver so as not to cause surprise but also indicative of the particular situation. They found out that this is nothing more than your usual bicycle bell.

When Bike Sense kicks into action, it will sound a bicycle bell or horn inside the car from the direction where the bike is actually coming from. The top of the seat will even extend to "tap" the driver on the shoulder, giving drivers the proper hint and perhaps make him or her look over his shoulder, safely. LED lights in the window sills, dashboard, and windscreen pillars will glow amber and then red in the direction and side that the bike is taking as it approaches. Bike Sense can even make the accelerator vibrate or feel stiff to prevent drivers from stepping on it in an inappropriate situation.

Bike Sense works even when the car itself is stationary or parked. It will warn drivers before opening doors in the path of approaching bikes. And if the driver insists on opening the door, it will vibrate and light up the door handles to emphasize the point.

Jaguar Land Rover has not yet revealed if the Bike Sense research is already fit for public eyes, but we are likely to see it in action in future concept cars, along with other fancy driver assistance tech, like the automobile maker's disappearing car pillars.

SOURCE: Jaguar Land Rover