Whether you’re driving a car or riding a bike, road safety is important. We’ve seen various car manufacturers offer their take on the connected road, showcasing how your next car may be able to communicate with other vehicles or traffic lights. That’s wonderful, but what about bicyclists? If you’re in an urban setting, you likely run into bicyclists (like, not literally run into them, I hope) on your daily commutes. Volvo, in an attempt to include all road-going beings to the connected world, have created a bicycle helmet meant for the new age.
Created in conjunction with POC and Ericsson, the connected helmet works with Strava, a popular app among bicyclists. The app shares your location with Volvo’s cloud, so those in Volvo’s automobiles can better identify where you might be on the road.
The cool doesn’t stop there, though. The Strava app also knows where other cars are, and the driver gets a warning that a bicyclist is nearby — even (especially, really) if they’re out of sight. The helmet even has a warning light built in, and flashes red in front of a bicyclist’s face if a car is approaching or crossing their intended path.
The system definitely has some promise, but isn’t without some bumps in the road ahead. Relying on the cloud and a smartphone app call into question just how fast the system can respond to both bicyclists and drivers, and just how and when alerts appear will be important, here. It’s doubtful drivers or cyclists want to know every time they’re near one another.
Still, Volvo is the first company even attempting such a thing, so it’s applaudable. If you’ve ever been driving a car and wondering why bicyclists seem oblivious — or riding your bike and cursing under your breath that cars aren’t looking out for you — this is a technology to keep your eye on.