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In a ground-breaking collaboration, Volvo Cars, protective gravity sports gear manufacturer POC and Ericsson recently presented an innovative safety technology that, for the first time ever, can connect drivers and cyclists. This new technology was unveiled at the International CES in Las Vegas from 6-9 January 2015.
The technology consists of a connected car and helmet prototype that will establish two-way communication offering proximity alerts to Volvo drivers and cyclists and thereby avoid accidents. No car manufacturer has previously put a stake in the ground to help address the problem of cyclist/vehicle safety by using Connected Safety technology – until now.
The global growth in cycling, including South Africa, continues unabated as commuters and sport cyclists take to their bikes. This has resulted in an increase in serious cycling accidents, an issue that Volvo Cars and POC believes is unacceptable and requires an innovative and concerted effort to address.
Volvo Cars’ City Safety system – standard on the all-new Volvo XC90 as well as the rest of the Volvo range – is a technology that can detect, warn and auto-brake to avoid collisions with cyclists. It was the industry’s first step to seriously address cyclist safety. This commitment has paved the way for the innovative helmet technology concept, presented at the International CES 2015.
Using a popular smartphone app for bicyclists, like Strava, the cyclist’s position can be shared through the Volvo cloud to the car, and vice versa. If an imminent collision is calculated, both road users will be warned – and enabled to take the necessary action to avoid a potential accident. The Volvo driver will be alerted to a cyclist nearby through a head-up display alert – even if he happens to be in a blind spot, e.g. behind a bend or another vehicle or hardly visible during night time. The cyclist will be warned via a helmet-mounted alert light.
The innovative concept is the result of an all-Swedish partnership between Volvo Cars, POC – the leading manufacturer of protective gear for gravity sports athletes and cyclists – and Ericsson, the world leader in communications technology and services. The innovative, cloud-based safety concept has exciting development opportunities and will ultimately help save lives across the whole spectrum of unprotected road users.
Klas Bendrik, VP and Group CIO at Volvo Cars commented: “The partnership between Volvo Cars, POC and Ericsson is an important milestone in investigating the next steps towards Volvo Cars’ vision to build cars that will not crash. But now, by exploring cloud-based safety systems, we are getting ever closer to eliminating the remaining blind spots between cars and cyclists and by that avoid collisions.”
Stefan Ytterborn, CEO and Founder of POC added: “Our mission is to do the best we can to possibly save lives and to reduce the consequences of accidents for gravity sports athletes and cyclists. The partnership with Volvo Cars aligns very well with our mission and we are excited to see how we can contribute to cyclist safety and increase interaction between cars and cyclists alike”.
Per Borgklint, SVP and Head of Business Unit Support Solutions at Ericsson said: “There is perhaps no greater promise that the Networked Society holds than its ability to create connections that save lives. Our latest work with Volvo Cars to explore protecting the millions of cyclists on the road is just the latest example of innovation that can change the world. We are proud to support this critical initiative in conjunction with POC and remain committed to the pursuit of connectivity-driven advancements that create limitless new possibilities.”
- Globally, 132.3 million bicycles were sold in 2013 (source: NPD Group 2013)
- Beijing government hopes, ¼ of people would use cycling to commute in 2015 (source: The Guardian, November 2013)
- In the Swedish city of Gothenburg alone, the number of bikers raised 30% in 2013 (source: Göteborgs Posten, November 2014)
- 4,533 cyclists were injured in Berlin only in 2012 (source: The Guardian, November 2013)
- 55% of cyclist fatalities in EU-23 countries occur in urban areas (source: CARE Database, European Commission 2012). In US 69% of all cyclist deaths in 2012 occurred in urban areas (source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration/Traffic Safety Facts April 2014)’
- (On the road) serious injuries for UK cyclists in 2013 were 31% higher than in 2009 (source: Department for Transport, Reported Road Casualties Great Britain: 2013 Annual Report)
- In US 726 cyclists were killed in 2012, an increase in 6.5% compared to 2011 and 49’000 were injured, +2.1% vs. 2011 (source: NHTSA/Traffic Safety Facts, November 2013)
- The total cost of bicyclist injuries and deaths is over $4 billion per year in the US (source: National Safety Council 2012)
- In Germany, The Netherlands and Poland more than 85% of cyclist fatalities occurred at crossroads (source: CARE Database, European Commission 2012)
- In some countries, pedestrians and cyclists constitute more than 75% of road deaths (source: WHO Fact Sheet # 358, March 2013)