Ford thinks Bluetooth low energy could keep pedestrians and cyclists out of cars

One good thing the pandemic has brought about is that more people are starting to ride bikes. In the first three months of 2021, U.S. consumer spending on bicycles and bicycle accessories rose 34% year over year to $8.2 billion. However, the pandemic has also led to more deaths and injuries while cycling.according to National Security Council1,260 cyclists were killed in 2020, a 16 percent increase from 2019.

This is a problem Ford believes technology can solve.Automakers on Monday Announce It is working with Commsignia, PSS, Ohio State University, T-Mobile and Tome Software to explore how a smartphone app can warn drivers of pedestrians and cyclists they may not be able to see. As someone who shares the road with your car, you’ll have the company’s software installed on your phone. With the help of Bluetooth Low Energy, vehicles equipped with the Ford Sync infotainment system will see you as a “beacon”. If the car then determines that a collision is likely, it will warn the driver using audio and visual cues.

According to Ford, its approach has some advantages. One is that Bluetooth low energy is almost ubiquitous. The technology has been part of the Bluetooth protocol since 2009, which means every modern smartphone can use it. If you own a Ford, you don’t need to take the car to the dealership for a hardware upgrade, as the sync system has Bluetooth compatibility. Another advantage of using Bluetooth LE is that your car can warn you without seeing pedestrians and cyclists. Ford and T-Mobile are also working on versions of the apps that use 5G instead of Bluetooth LE.

In practice, the company’s approach is reminiscent of COVID Exposure Notification App Some countries and states deployed at the start of the pandemic. As you may recall, those also use Bluetooth LE.However, despite Support from Apple and Google, they never worked due to low usage.For example, in Canada, only the federal COVID Alert app is downloaded 6.9 million times And recorded 63,117 positive tests. In other words, not enough Canadians are downloading the software to make it an effective contact tracing tool. Ford’s app may suffer from some of the same issues.

As an avid cyclist, I can’t tell you how many people I’ve seen ride their bikes without LED lights to make themselves visible in traffic.On the other hand, statistics show that motorists have been driving more positive In recent years, this has led to an increase in the above-mentioned cyclist deaths and car accidents. Any sort of intervention would be welcome, but if Ford’s app hits the market, it’s unlikely to be a meaningful solution. While a Bluetooth LE solution for COVID has only one climb, applications like Ford’s have two: cyclist adoption and automaker adoption.

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