Avoiding accidents just got easier. A 2-way communication — between a bicycle helmet and a connected car — detects and offers proximity alerts to Volvo drivers and to bicyclists. The technology warns both car and bike traveler of oncoming traffic and triggers an auto-braking faculty in the Volvo.
This first-in-the-industry safety technology offers a solution to offset and do away with high numbers of traffic injuries and fatalities. Depending on where a bicyclist is cycling, the awareness (of the cyclist) from automobile drivers varies quite a bit. In Copenhagen and Amsterdam, everyone knows and sees other travelers, whether in another car or on bike or foot. Other places (too many places), drivers who never consider there may be a bicyclist in traffic — even being right by a bike, they seem blind to it — take life after life after life.
Volvo Cars developed this new “connected” helmet that supports instant 2-way communication between bikes and vehicles. Cyclists and drivers become aware of each other when in proximity to one another — even if they do not see each other. Volvo has a well-deserved reputation for prioritizing safety on the road as a primary issue in the design and production of its automobiles. This new design shows its concern, not only for its drivers and passengers, but anyone in traffic with them — in this case particular case, bicyclists.
The state-of-the-art partnership between Volvo Cars, sports-gear manufacturer POC, and Ericsson sets out to stop surprises and the resulting crashes of bikes and cars. The new helmet will be presented at CES in Las Vegas January 6–9 , 2015.
Smartphones and Strava supply the app for the bicyclists (who remain anonymous) — with a cyclist’s position shared through the Volvo cloud to the car and then back to the cyclists. Calculated trouble goes in both directions and potential accidents are much more easily avoided. Volvo explains: “the Volvo driver will be alerted to a cyclist nearby through a head-up display alert – even if he happens to be in a blind spot, e.g. behind a bend or another vehicle or hardly visible during night time. The cyclist will be warned via a helmet-mounted alert light.”
The Volvo press release points out: “No car manufacturer has previously put a stake in the ground to help address the problem by using Connected Safety technology – until now.” Volvo explains its concern: “The global growth in cycling continues unabated as commuters take to their bikes. This has resulted in an increase in serious cycling accidents, an issue that Volvo Cars and POC believes is unacceptable and requires an innovative and concerted effort to address. Volvo Cars’ City Safety system — standard on the all-new XC90 — is a technology that can detect, warn and auto-brake to avoid collisions with cyclists. It was the industry’s first step to seriously address cyclist safety. This commitment has paved the way for the innovative helmet technology concept, presented at the International CES 2015.”
This time of year, some folks hang up the bike. However, not everyone does. Sustainablog has a winter biking wonderland post if you want to take the winter one without losing your daily exercise: “How to Winterize Your Bicycle.” The author encourages one to “Throw off those winter blues… bicycling can make your winter green!” As much as the new Volvo helmet looks like a wonderful step forward, it’s important to remember that biking already provides a greater health benefit than risk.
Image: Volvo Cars