Currently, the Consumer Electronic Show is in full swing – only, it’s gone 100% digital. Even though there’s no physical show floor to roam, there are still a number of new products launching. That includes some that the bicycle world will find particularly interesting. Especially, since one day, it could save your life.

For a few years now, we’ve been hearing about the future of B2V, or Bicycle-To-Vehicle communications. With more vehicles hitting the road with collision avoidance systems, wouldn’t it be great if those systems could also detect cyclists and prevent the vehicle from hitting them? Sure, it would be a lot better if drivers would just pay attention to their driving, put down the phones and other distractions, and drive sober, making it so we wouldn’t need any additional protection. But the frequency of Ghost Bikes popping up around the country suggests that isn’t going to happen any time soon.

But it isn’t just vehicles that are under human control that we have to worry about. As the world marches closer to widespread autonomous vehicles, those computer driven cars will also need to detect cyclists and pedestrians. One way of improving the ‘visibility’ of cyclists to these systems could be the integration of B2V sensors into bicycle accessories or an app on the phone you already have.

B2V supporters and board memebers

Announced in 2017 with more details at the 2018 CES, Tome Software has been working closely with a number of companies including Ford and Trek to develop the B2V platform. More companies are coming onboard, with Trek mentioning that a consortium is being formed that will include executives from Bosch, Ford, Hammerhead, Shimano, Specialized, SRAM, Tome, and of course, Trek.

Trek Flare RT+B2V prototype

 

Currently, everything is still in the prototype phase, but Trek and Specialized have come up with some intriguing prototypes that include B2V integration. Trek is working on a prototype Flare RT+B2V tail light that expands on the already impressive light. Packed with “modified hardware to include GPS position and long-range Bluetooth”, the light is said to use code developed by Tome Software, and is currently being tested with Ford to determine what the future holds for the light. Notably, since this is a light that you can just strap onto your bike, it will work with all bikes out there. Heck, you could even strap it to a stroller, or attach it to your person if out for a jog.

Specialized ANGi prototype with B2V technology

It’s a similar story for Specialized, though they are working on integrating the technology directly into their Ride App and the user’s phone. Also still in prototyping, contrary to what we first reported, the B2V function will be contained in the app and phone, not their ANGi sensors. However, the app will still integrate with those helmet sensors, which already offer location tracking, impact and time distress alerts.

HAAS Safety Cloud concept

The B2V press release also includes a bit on the HAAS Alert system which offers B2R instead of B2V. What is B2R? That’s Bicycle-To-Responder alerting which is more for the drivers of ambulances, fire trucks, etc. The B2R system would let first responders know that Vulnerable Road Users (VRUs) are present, allowing them to safely drive around them.

Even though all of this is still in the prototype phase and may be some time until we see it hit the streets in production, it’s great to see a lot of industry giants putting their resources into the future of safer cycling.

tomesoftware.com

20 comments

  1. fr0hickey on

    I want one that activates the emergency brakes of the car when the car approaches from the rear of the bike. I want one that activates the emergency brakes of the car when the car approaches from the front of the bike.

    Reply
  2. ajft on

    Drivers “not seeing” cyclists is rarely a technical problem, usually a social one. Ride in Europe, you’ll be seen, ride in USA/UK/Australia & “sorry mate, I didn’t see you “. Expensive technical toys affordable by only for a few % of people are not the answer

    Reply
    • Robin on

      “Expensive technical toys” become affordable technology for everyone. Look at modern cars. Many now come with features that allow the are to automatically maintain a safe distance, stay in a lane, and so on.

      The answer is NOT relying solely on the fallible and prone to failure attention span of humans. A sensor and computer algorithm aren’t affected by mood, fatigue, passengers talking, or any thing like that.

      Reply
    • fm106 on

      You’d think that technology could be used to make sure the driver is fit to drive and is paying attention. Why shift so much responsibility from the usual offenders to the usual victims?

      Reply
  3. tinkertowncycle on

    Reliance upon such devices may lead to those without the device becoming the usual victims. This type of technology is designed to help, but may also be the reason for someone getting killed. Why not be a responsible driver and keep your eyes on the road, pay attention. When presence of the driver becomes less needed due to reliance upon technology (i.e. self-driving, safety alerts, etc.), more people are going to die staring into a screen, but maybe MVA deaths will decrease as a whole (although numbers are continually on the rise).

    Reply
    • Robin on

      This tech might be the reasons that some dies? Wow, that’s some rich fear mongering there.

      Human attention spans are not reliable. The history of humans piloting cars proves that. Improved technology WILL be what reduces the number of deaths on the roads, no matter what luddites think.

      Reply
      • tinkertowncycle on

        I did say it may say lives, but it “may” also be the reason “some” people die. You’re not comprehending.

        It’s the reliance with which one depends on technology that takes away from a person’s own awareness to act responsibly and perform a task of their own ability. I’m saying this from a general point of view on the reliance of technology to provide safe performance of potentially harmful activities like driving a motor vehicle. There’s self-driving cars now (like Tesla) “that have already killed people” because the operator depended on the technology while being distracted from their responsibility of driving a motor vehicle.

        I’m not fear mongering, I’m stating how things might be and seem to be: “This technology might save lives, but it might also be the reason some people die”.

        If it becomes normal to depend on these light systems that communicate with cars, and one does not use this light system, it may increase the chance they will then become the victim because a motor vehicle operator was not aware of their presence due to MV-operator’s reliance upon the technology.

        This is not fear mongering, just speculating how things might become, and stating this reliance diminishes a MV-operators awareness of their surroundings. It’s one more reason not to pay attention while driving. “Why look out for what’s up ahead when I can rely upon technology to alert me”. “Why drive my car, when it can drive for me”.

        Humans “in general” continually prove the advancements in technology we achieve supersede our ability to use them responsibly.

        Reply
  4. Zee on

    Not everyone can afford modern cars, it’s still “pay to play” to get that tech. My 2014 vehicle doesn’t have any of that tech.

    Reply
  5. Jeff on

    This is not fear mongering it already happens. peoples reliance on safety features lowers their awareness to what the safety feature is supposed to detect. look at back up sensors. how many people just start backing up knowing that their sensors “should” warn them if there is something back there. they never even look or check their mirrors. just last year a guy in my area backed over and killed his own toddler cause the toddler was playing by the tire. had he looked in the mirror he would have seen him but he just relied on the back up sensor.

    Also until EVERY car has this then it still wont work like your eutopian dream.

    Reply
    • JBikes on

      Just the year before and the year before that ad naseum, toddlers were run over by “a guy in [someone’s] area” without a back-up camera.

      BU camera/sensors may not prevent any and all incidents, but the data shows they definitely haven’t made it worse and by most measures, they can be correlated with a decrease in reported incidents.

      Reply
  6. JBikes on

    What? Many cyclists get killed by inattentive drivers in Europe. Its not some utopia of ultra smart, attentive humans.

    But, how about we improve we improve our social problems and provide better tools to help prevent deaths and injuries.

    Reply
  7. schmamps on

    Ubiquity and liability: these won’t be in any (much less all) cars for some time. Who’s to blame if your bike doesn’t have a beacon?

    Privacy and efficacy: anonymized systems tend to fail at one or both of these. Why carry a tracker, especially if drivers ignore it?

    Cost: this thing may be useless at best. How can technology drive down the price to less than zero?

    Reply
  8. JBikes on

    I think a lot of people are missing the boat on this.

    Cars will get more automated safety functions up to and including L5 full automation. These functions will rely on onboard sensors, and supplement those sensors with outside/environmental infrastructure.

    B2V devices will supplement in the outside/environmental realm. They will provide another layer of feedback for the control systems, but will not be the sole safety mechanism.

    Everyone should be excited about these advances. Instead of focusing the “what-if” focus on how these can be implemented safely. They aren’t developed in a vacuum devoid of input.

    Reply
    • Jeff on

      So when that L5 car kills someone who is to blame? Or if a crash is eminent does the car spare its occupants or the pedestrian? These questions will stall your dream world real quick when the answer is not in favor of the person spending the money to buy said car. Would get I something knowing you were the one to die even though you paid for it?

      This tech sounds cool but will never work reliably in the real world nor will it be adopted widely. Plus if a trek engineer was involved you know the data was from someone else’s product and the test was Mia represented anyways. They can’t even tell the truth about their helmets.

      Reply
  9. Jeff on

    Not saying it fixes anything just that people rely on technology and in doing so pay less attention. Reading comprehension is your friend.

    Reply
  10. zombieweekly on

    Same problem everywhere except Netherlands.
    Solid solution would be to construct bicycle dedicated lanes rather than pushing the cost to cyclists and motorists.

    Reply

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