Think of it like an advanced version of Blind Spot Monitoring. Sensors around the vehicle will detect when another road user is approaching, and decide whether it is a bicycle or motorbike. Bike Sense will then use touch, vibrations, sounds or moving lights inside the car to make the driver aware of the potential hazard before the driver sees it.
The theory is that the brain responds quicker and more intuitively to these kinds of warnings than to generic warning bongs or symbols.
‘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.’ explains Dr Wolfgang Epple, Director of Research and Technology for JLR. ‘This creates warnings that allow a faster cognitive reaction as they engage the brain’s instinctive responses.’
Perhaps the spookiest idea from Epple’s team is to design a driver’s seat with automatically extending fingers that could tap the driver on the left or right shoulder if a bike approaching from behind is about to become a hazard.
Other warnings could involve door handles that buzz to prevent the door being opened into the path of an oncoming bike, or a throttle pedal that vibrates if moving the car could cause an accident. There could also be ‘a matrix of LED lights on the window sills, dashboard and windscreen pillars that will glow amber and then red as the bike approaches’ also highlighting the direction the bike is taking.
At the same time, a bicycle bell or motorbike horn could be sounded from the speaker nearest the bike, so the driver immediately understands where the cyclist is coming from.