With automakers like Volvo and Jaguar adding and improving technology to reduce the likelihood of a car hitting a cyclist, things are moving in the right direction. But many other brands already have accident avoidance sensors built into their bumpers to sense an impending collision and help bring a vehicle to a stop regardless of whether the driver sees the danger or not.
Now, Mercury Wheels founder Chris Mogridge has developed a completely passive device that amplifies the “footprint” a bicycle returns to the automobile’s radar, making a bike seem as big as a car…
Ilumaware is the new brand and name for the technology, but the product itself doesn’t have a name yet.
“It’s 100% passive, there are no batteries needed – it’s just an incredibly simple design, but it took a lot of work to get to this point,” Mogridge told us. “A lot of engineering went into figuring out the size, shape and angles, and the coating of the metal to make it work.”
It’s patent pending, and they say it’s already attracting attention from big industry players. They won’t say who, but it could find it’s way onto bikes and helmets in the near future.
Mogridge says it should be mounted where it’s unobstructed from a bumper’s view, so helmets are perfect. And it works great on the back of a seatpost or saddle bag. He’s even working on versions with blinky lights, which combines devices. The red plastic cover shown here is purely aesthetic, it doesn’t need it, and it could be any color. With the right industrial designer on the case, the piece could look downright fashionable.
More countries are mandating crash avoidance systems on commercial vehicles, so it’s plausible that the systems will make their way to more cars over the next decade, particularly with autonomous driving seeing so much development from Google and others. He’s looking for strategic partners to bring it to market on their own products, he’s just excited to bring the technology to the table.
Mogridge says he’s talking to a couple companies already and developing a second, complementary product that’ll be unveiled soon.