Technology to tap drivers on the shoulder or ring bells to avoid accidents with cyclists is being developed by Jaguar Land Rover.
The car-maker’s Bike Sense research is being conducted as part of a drive to reduce the number of accidents on UK roads, where 19,000 cyclists are killed or injured each year.
Researchers are identifying the best warning colours and sounds that will trigger an instinctive response from the driver to prevent accidents.
As well as bicycle bells and a tap on the shoulder they are testing door handles that buzz the driver’s hand to prevent doors being opened into the path of bikes and an accelerator pedal which vibrates if moving the car would cause an accident
Bike Sense is currently a concept technology being developed at Jaguar Land Rover’s Advanced Research Centre at the University of Warwick and uses colours, sounds and touch inside the car to alert drivers to potential hazards.
Sensors will detect when another road user is approaching and identify it as bicycle or motorbike.
It will then make the driver aware of the potential hazard before the driver sees it.
If a bicycle or motorbike is coming up the road behind the car, Bike Sense will detect if it is overtaking or coming past the vehicle on the inside, and the top of the car seat will extend to ‘tap’ the driver on the left or right shoulder.
The idea is the driver will then instinctively look over that shoulder to identify the potential hazard.
As the cyclist gets closer to the car, a matrix of LED lights on the window sills, dashboard and windscreen pillars will glow amber and then red as the bike approaches.
The movement of these red and amber lights across these surfaces will also highlight the direction the bike is taking.
Dr Wolfgang Epple, Jaguar Land Rover’s director of research and technology, said: “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.”