Car seat ‘taps you on shoulder’ to warn of cyclists

Jaguar Land Rover says it has developed new technology that warns drivers of approaching cyclists by tapping them on the shoulder.

‘Bike Sense’ is a concept technology that is being developed at Jaguar Land Rover’s Advanced Research Centre in the UK.

The tech is still in development and will be available in both Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles sold in SA, although there is no clear time frame yet.

The new range of technology uses colours, sounds and touch inside the car to alert drivers to potential hazards and aims to prevent accidents involving bicycles and motorbikes.

JLR is trialling tech which includes handles that ‘buzz’ the driver’s hand to prevent doors being opened into the path of cyclists, while the vehicle’s accelerator pedal will vibrate if moving the car might cause an accident.

Sensors on the car will detect when another road user is approaching and identify it as bicycle or motorbike. Bike Sense will then make the driver aware of the potential hazard before the driver sees it.

Bike sense
Bike sense

Rather than using a generic warning icon or sound, which takes time for the driver’s brain to process, Bike Sense uses lights and sounds that the driver will instinctively associate with the potential danger.

To help the driver understand where the bike is in relation to their car, the audio system will make it sound as if a bicycle bell or motorbike horn is coming through the speaker nearest the bike, so the driver immediately understands the direction the cyclist is coming from.

If a bicycle or motorbike is coming up the road behind the car, Bike Sense will detect if it is overtaking or coming past the vehicle on the inside, and the top of the car seat will extend to ‘tap’ the driver on the left or right shoulder. The idea is that the driver will then instinctively look over that shoulder to identify the potential hazard.

As the cyclist gets closer to the car, a matrix of LED lights on the window sills, dashboard and windscreen pillars will glow amber and then red as the bike approaches. The movement of these red and amber lights across these surfaces will also highlight the direction the bike is taking, JLR said.

Dr Wolfgang Epple, director of research and technology, Jaguar Land Rover, said: “Human beings have developed an instinctive awareness of danger over thousands of years. Certain colours like red and yellow will trigger an immediate response, while everyone recognises the sound of a bicycle bell.

“Bike Sense takes us beyond the current technologies of hazard indicators and icons in wing mirrors, to optimising the location of light, sound and touch to enhance this intuition. This creates warnings that allow a faster cognitive reaction as they engage the brain’s instinctive responses.”

Earlier this month, JLR revealed that it was working on a transparent bonnet virtual imaging concept to give Land Rover drivers a digital vision of the terrain ahead by making the front of the car ‘virtually’ invisible.

The technology would provide full visibility of what is underneath and in front of the car, with total clarity of otherwise hidden obstacles.

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Car seat ‘taps you on shoulder’ to warn of cyclists