Ford Has Created A Smart Jacket To Make Cycling Safer

Image: Ford

And not just from all of the rage monsters who swear at them during the morning commute.

A group of cycling fans over at Ford Smart Mobility in the UK have developed some wearable smart tech for cyclists, enabling easier navigation, presence and intention on the road. The jacket lights up and vibrates, eliminates the need for cyclists to utilise navigation apps, which can be dangerous for themselves, vehicles and pedestrians.

"At Ford, we want to help people – and goods – move more safely, confidently and freely around our cities,” said Tom Thompson, project lead for the Ford Smart Mobility team. "The smart jacket concept helps us to better understand how the different players that are a part of the urban mobility ecosystem – cyclists, cars, and pedestrians – can better co-exist through the application of smart technologies and how we can apply those learnings to future ideas."

It works by connecting to an app on your smartphone, which slides into a transparent compartment on the right sleeve. The jacket will light up to indicate whether a cyclist is turning left or right (you still need to raise your arm though), and vibrates a sleeve to let them know which way they need to go.

The jacket also includes a flashing brake light and audible and haptic interfaces which allow riders to enable cyclists to receive calls and texts and offer navigation guidance through bone conducting headphones. This includes route guidance that suggests safer, less busy roads.

"There is an immediate change in mindset once there is no longer any need to stop to consult navigation apps directly on your phone, or worry if you’re heading into a particularly busy or dangerous road junction," said Thompson who helped to develop the jacket in his spare time.

Ford's smart cycling jacket was developed in collaboration with Lumo and mobility software expert, Tome. At the present time it's just a prototype, but Ford is in the process of securing a patent with the purpose of further development in the future.

You can see it in action here:

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