Ford Develops Safety Car System For Cyclists As Death Stats Revealed
Ford has developed an ‘exit warning’ system for cars that flashes a bright red light when cyclists are approaching to avoid serious injuries from door collisions
As a part of its Share The Road campaign, Ford fitted sensors and cameras around the vehicle, designed to automatically detect nearby road users, especially cyclists that can usually be undetected in blind spots, and alerts car passengers through red flashing lights around the mirror.
‘This campaign is not just about introducing new technology but also highlighting the need for equal respect and responsibility,’ Ford said in a statement.
‘If both cyclists and motorists took a little bit more time to understand each other’s needs, we would quickly see a change in attitudes and behaviour which can ultimately improve road safety for everybody. Ford’s leadership role can play an important part in helping make that happen.’
The doors edges will also be equipped with red flashing lights to alert approaching cyclists, in addition to an alarm sound that will notify both the driver and cyclists.
The flashing lights and alarm was designed to avoid frequent collisions, known as ‘dooring’, with Ford already in the works to develop a system that would physically stop a door opening if a person in danger is detected.
Recent figures released by Australian Health & Welfare revealed that a total of 651 deaths and 160,000 hospitalisations of cyclists occurred in the 17 years from 1990 to 2016. According to the injury data, of those killed, 90 per cent were men and 90 per cent happened on roads.
The Australian Automobile Association (AAA) Benchmarking report also revealed that drivers are responsible for 79 per cent of accidents with cyclists, with driver distraction accounting for roughly 25 per cent of accidents.
It means that Ford’s latest development is addressing a leading concern and cause of injury in major transport sectors – vehicle and cyclists. As more people are turning to eco-friendly modes of transport, cycling is only set to continue to increase over the coming years.
Some vehicles in the US are already fitted with sensors to detect and brake for cyclists – which alert drivers on the road when other road users, such as cyclists, are in their blind spots. It’s technologies like these that will soon be featured in Ford’s new system.
‘Cyclists, and increasingly e-scooter riders, face daily safety challenges on our busy roads, including avoiding car doors as they open,’ said Friederike Philipsenburg, Ford’s European Vehicle Architecture Engineer.
‘Exit Warning is just one of the ways we are helping to make the roads better for everybody — whether they are on two wheels or four.’
Ford’s engineers are also testing a new mechanism inserted into the car door that would automatically prevent it from opening if a person was detected to be certain areas surrounding the vehicle.
But the vehicle owner would still be able to override this mechanism if there was an emergency situation.
Ford expects to trial the new feature over the next few months after early success in previous trials. The trials would aim to establish the mechanism works for both left- and right-hand drive vehicles as well as being consistent across multiple road and lane layouts.
The vehicle manufacturer also made an ‘Emoji Jacket’ that flashes on the back with different symbols when worn to help cyclists share the road with drivers more safely.
The jacket can also display hazard warnings and indicators for when the cyclists is about to change lanes or make a turn. The jacket is controlled via a wireless remote attached to the handlebars, ensuring optimum user control without compromising safety.