The new Bike Sense research uses in-car systems such as warning lights, sounds and even shoulder ‘taps’ to alert the driver a cyclist is nearby.
The science has been to help the driver immediately understand where the cyclist is, rather than issuing a generic warning.
For example, says Jaguar Land Rover, if sensors detect a bicycle or motorcycle in the car’s blindspot, a cyclist’s bell will sound in the speaker nearest to them – left or right, front or rear.
A matrix of yellow and red lights will then glow as the cyclist gets closer to the car; they’ll be on the window sills, dashboard and windscreen pillars; the red hotspot will be centred on the cyclist.
They’ll also sweep in the direction the cyclist is travelling in, and move with the cyclist.
Other clever tech includes a physical nudge if a cyclist is coming up behind the car; the top of the seat will ‘tap’ the driver on the shoulder so, goes the theory, they remember to look over their shoulder.
The research technology even extends to the doorhandles: the car knows if the door may be opened in the path of a cyclist and will ’buzz’ the doorhandle to warn the occupants.
Faster cognitive reaction
Dr Wolfgang Epple, research and technology director at JLR, explained: “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. If you see the dashboard glowing red in your peripheral vision, you will be drawn to it and understand straight away that another road user is approaching that part of your vehicle.”
While the systems are not yet production ready, JLR has confirmed it’s developing the new technologies using colour, sound and touch at its Advanced Research Centre with future production intent.
It aims to launch elements of the new tech within two years.