Volvo is testing a new technology that enables cars to communicate directly with helmets of cyclists in their vicinity to help prevent dangerous collisions.
The system, to be showcased at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas in early January, consists of a connected car and helmet prototype that will establish a two-way communication link offering proximity alerts to both the Volvo driver and the cyclist.
The first system of its kind, the project is a collaboration between Volvo, Ericsson and protective sports gear maker POC.
"The partnership with Volvo Cars aligns very well with our mission to do the best we can to possibly save lives and to reduce the consequences of accidents for gravity sports athletes and cyclists," said Stefan Ytterborn, CEO and founder of POC.
The helmet side of the system relies on smartphone apps for cyclists that allow pinpointing of the cyclist’s position. The information is then shared through Volvo car’s cloud service and transmitted to the drivers around.
The system calculates the likelihood of a collision in real-time and issues an alert to all participants of the situation.
The main advantage, the company says, is the fact that the driver will be alerted to the presence of the cyclist through a head-up display even if the latter is not immediately visible in the rear mirrors of the car due to blind angles.
Similarly, the cyclist will receive a warning through a helmet-mounted light.
"The partnership between Volvo Cars, POC and Ericsson is an important milestone in investigating the next steps towards Volvo Car's vision to build cars that will not crash,” said Klas Bendrik, vice president and Group CIO at Volvo Cars.
“Today our City Safety system, a standard in the all-new XC90, can detect, warn and auto-brake to avoid collisions with cyclists. By exploring cloud-based safety systems, we are now getting ever closer to eliminating the remaining blind spots between cars and cyclists and, by that, avoid collisions."
Cyclists are probably the most vulnerable road users. Nearly 50,000 cyclist fatalities and injuries happen every year in the USA alone. According to estimates, about 50 per cent of all cyclists that die in traffic accidents are killed in collisions with cars.