Imagine your bicycle helmet warning you of the danger of a collision with an approaching vehicle. As GPS plots the possibility of a crash, a red light from the helmet brim flashes across your face. The driver also receives a heads-up inside the vehicle. You take evasive action, and a catastrophe is averted.
This may be the wave of the future in preventing serious injuries and fatalities resulting from crashes between cars and bicycles. Swedish auto maker Volvo has teamed up with helmet maker POC and telecom company Ericsson to create a system that connects automobile drivers and cyclists so they can more safely share the road.
Using GPS-based apps such as Strava, the Volvo and POC system, which debuted at the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, delivers proximity alerts. If a collision is imminent, the driver is alerted to the presence of a cyclist — even if the rider is in a blind spot — via the in-car screen; cyclists are warned by the flashing light.
Three red warning lights are aligned with the helmet wearer’s forehead.
Volvo calls the partnership among the three companies the next step in its broader goal to make cars that don’t crash. The company was the first to introduce the Cyclist Detection System with fully automatic emergency braking in traffic in 2013.
Will other car companies follow suit? That the partners in this initiative are Swedish is perhaps no surprise: That country originated Vision Zero, a policy that has had wide-spread influence. Adopted by Swedish parliament in 1997, Vision Zero considers all traffic crashes to be preventable and aims to eliminate serious injuries and deaths. Today it forms the centerpiece of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s street safety initiative in New York City, one that is already showing promising results from such efforts as lowering the speed limit, implementing slow zones on major streets and installing speed cameras in school zones.
Photos: Volvo (top) and POC (above)