While it won't debut for a few years, Jaguar is working on a system that will detect when a bicycle or motorcycle is in the back 75 percent of the car and then warn the driver. Jaguar says the system is aimed specifically at bikes filtering through traffic, as is common pretty much globally, except in the United States.
As I'm sure is the case with most of you, my first thought was of those little "blind spot assist" warning lights that even budget cars have now when there is an object in the car's blind spot.
Jaguar, is taking it not one, but like five steps further.
The system, called "Bike Sense," has several elements:
- To help the driver understand where the bike is in relation to the bike, the car's audio system will play a bicycle bell or motorcycle horn sound nearest the bike.
- If the bike is coming up the road behind the car, the top of the seat will extend to "tap the driver on the shoulder," with the idea that the driver will turn to look over that shoulder to see the approaching bike.
- As the bike approaches the car, a series of LED lights on the window sills, dashboard, and windscreen pillars will turn from amber to red as the bike gets closer. The lights will also light up with the direction the bike is traveling in.
- If a group of bikes is approaching or the car is on a busy street, the system will prioritize the nearest hazards to avoid overwhelming the driver.
- If the driver ignores the warning and presses the accelerator, the pedal will vibrate and feel stiff.
- To keep drivers from opening the doors in front of approaching bicycles and motorcycles, the system produces a warning when the bike is approaching. If the person in the car still tries to get out, the handle will light up and vibrate to warn the person.
- Assuming that every driver is staring into an electronic device at all times, Jaguar will also send a text message to the driver's device to alert him that a bike is approaching.
OK, so I made up that last one.
While I'm all for increasing safety and reducing SMIDSY (Sorry Mate, I Didn't See You) accidents, this may be taking things a step too far. The Bike Sense system will definitely alert more drivers to our presence on the road. I just hope it doesn't infuriate them and increase the road rage we experience on a daily basis. I wouldn't want a bunch of pissed-off drivers with these bike-targeting... I mean warning systems.