Now in full swing, there’s some interesting news from the Consumer Electronic Show that may lead to safer cycling. Back in September, Trek announced that they would be partnering with Tome software to create an AI based bicycle to vehicle (B2V) communication system that would essentially tell oncoming cars that a bicycle is upcoming. This isn’t the first attempt at getting smart bicycles or accessories to interact with automotive safety systems (POC and Volvo come to mind), but the inclusion of big brands like Trek and the Ford Motor Company carries some serious weight.

Today, Trek and Tome have announced another layer to the safer cycling equation. Calling it Cellular Vehicle-to-Everything (C-V2X) communication, the system promises to allow vehicles to communicate with the surrounding infrastructure. While still in the development phase, the goal of the project is to create a better ecosystem for transportation where the various modes communicate with each other to cut down on collisions. We imagine that this could lead to stop lights that would actually trip for cyclists, or vehicles that would be force to slow down if someone is using the cross walk.

Trek says that their contribution will include Trek and Bontrager branded products that will alert oncoming drivers of bicyclists giving them more time to react and (hopefully) slow down. It’s possible that the system could even tie into automatic collision avoidance systems that theoretically could make bike vs. car collisions a thing of the past. We’re still likely a ways out until we see the first products from the collaboration, but it’s great to see more resources devoted to improving on-road safety for cyclists.

Press Release:

Trek and Tome add C-V2X tech to B2V system with Ford support

Progress toward active-cycling safety integration to be presented at CES

(Las Vegas, NV) – Trek Bicycle and Tome Software are leading the drive to make roads safer for cyclists. With the support of Ford Motor Co., they’ll continue a movement toward an industry standard for active-cycling safety in 2018.

Trek and Tome are showcasing the development on an AI-based bicycle-to-vehicle communication system (B2V) at Ford’s booth during the 2018 CES in Las Vegas.

B2V is now adding Cellular Vehicle-to-Everything (C-V2X) technology to its technical roadmap. C-V2X has the potential to help cities around the world create safer, more capable infrastructure and connect vehicles to a larger communications system. It is designed to allow vehicles to directly communicate with other vehicles, pedestrian devices, bikes and roadside infrastructure, such as traffic signs and construction zones. C-V2X also provides opportunities for direct bicycle electronics integration, as well as mobile phone app integration for cyclists.

Originally announced in September 2017, Trek and Tome’s collaboration has now expanded the research and development phase of B2V to include automotive and smart-city integrations, with the goal of reducing the number of cyclists killed and injured on the road. Ford is supporting the work that Trek and Tome are doing to evaluate the technical opportunities and the best user experiences for cyclists on roadways.

Cyclists are an important and growing part of urban mobility and multimodal transportation and B2V will be critical to the future of safer cycling, where vehicles, devices, and the surrounding environment communicate wirelessly.

“Ford has been supportive of our mission to make cycling safer since day one and we all understand how important it is that B2V technology is open and shared,” said Tome founder and CEO Jake Sigal.

Trek is in a unique position to lead the development effort as an industry leader with a history of conducting research that has led to a range of products cyclists utilize to enhance their visibility, including electronics and apparel.

“The future for us is moving from a more passive approach to cycling safety and focusing our development on active safety measures,” Trek Electronics Product Manager Scott Kasin said. “We want to ensure that while cyclists have the tools and knowledge to do what they can to create a safer experience, they will now have the enhanced ability to communicate their presence directly to vehicles.”

For B2V, Trek will focus on the rider’s user experience and the electronics available to them that will alert drivers to their presence in potentially-dangerous roadway areas. Unlike its existing visibility products, Trek B2V-enabled equipment will focus on giving driver alerts directly to approaching vehicles. The software technology will be licensed to cycling and automotive companies as an industry standard. While the technology will initially appear in Trek and Bontrager products, the company intends to publish the results of its development.

Track the progress being made on Trek and Tome’s B2V innovations at TomeSoftware.com or visit us at the Ford CES booth 5002.

 

 

20 COMMENTS

  1. Along with, “wasn’t wearing a helmet”, “wasn’t wearing hi-viz”, “didn’t have bright enough lights”, we can now add, “didn’t have a functioning collision avoidance system”.
    More fuel for the anti-cycling blame culture.
    Why aren’t drivers simply expected to look where they’re going?
    I reckon the best collision avoidance system would be a 12 inch blade fastened to the centre of the steering wheel pointing at the driver’s soft bits. That would make them look where they’re going.
    Shame on Trek I say.

    • Actually devices that might optimize a cyclist’s safety and reduce the chances of a collision are actually a good thing. Anyone that expects human drivers to be perfect is a fool. Anyone that expects human bike riders to be perfect is a fool. Given the lack of perfection in the transportation system, I’ll gladly take something that gives me and/or a driver a heads-up, especially if that heads-up is what keeps that driver, their car, and me from exchanging momentum and energy.

      • I think the tech is a good thing, but Chris highlights a very big issue…the idea that collision are accidents. Its right there in the word – “accident”

        No. Sans an unforeseeable medical condition that strikes while driving, there are essentially no accidents. Choices made by driver or cyclist cause accidents. I routinely pass cyclists when I drive. I have yet to remotely come close to hitting one. Why? I don’t text. I look 10+ seconds in front of me. I drive within my vision, car capability and road conditions. I am constantly adapting my driving base on these factors.

        So yes, the tech is needed because humans are perfect. But letting them off for “accidents” is, imo, a slap in the face to everyone that doesn’t manage to hit people.

        • It’s a slap in the face to the victims.

          I was at a conference listening to a presentation from the my state DOT board. It was something like 95% of crashes are due to a choice the driver has made.

        • I didn’t indicate otherwise. However, that fear–of collisions being written off as accidents–is no reason not to develop this technology. The technology doesn’t exist on the road, and collisions are still written off as accidents. This technology could prevent some, maybe many, of those collisions from happening. That seems to the important part.

          • Where did I state the tech should not be developed? I think it’s great technology and wish more of becomes widespread.

            But, cultural and judicial attitudes toward “accidents” can and should be addressed in parallel. I view a drunk driver injuring someone no different than someone that wasn’t paying attention due to a phone call hitting/injuring someone. We treat them vasy differently though, don’t we? Why is that? Both were conscious choices to perform a dangerous act from the drivers seat.

      • I don’t think drivers (or cyclists, or pedestrians) are perfect. The point is, that systems like this will give drivers a false sense that the way ahead is clear unless the potential obstacles (cyclist, pedestrian, even another motor vehicle) have a functioning collision avoidance system. If you don’t have a device, or your device’s battery fails, the driver will not ‘see’ you, because they won’t actually be looking.
        The system relies on you, the cyclist / pedestrian to make yourself ‘visible’. You will be blamed when you get hit if you are not carrying a functioning device.
        This flies in the face of natural justice – it is the responsibility of drivers of motor vehicles to look out for other road users and to ensure that they do not drive into them. It is not the responsibility of the other road users to wave and shout, “Oy I’m here”, to avoid being killed.

        • No.

          I’ll let you rely on natural justice. Me? I’ll happily support technology like this if it increases the likelihood that I’ll make it home after each ride. I prefer the objective analysis over hair pulling about blame throwing.

  2. I fail to understand with all the anti-collision software out there, very few car manufacturers produce a simple system that will prevent a car from hitting a cyclist riding the same direction as the car.

    But then I here what people say to me at work when I commute by bike…”you’re asking to be hit riding on these roads”…that kind of implies its okay to hit me right? These same people design cars.

    Very few care about cycling or cyclists (at least in the US). Once someone gets in their car, 75% become a-holes. Need to pay attention and slow down for 2-3 seconds to safely give cyclist room, time easily made up down the road? Nope…that small delay causes rage in most people once they sit behind the wheel. They’d seemingly rather kill someone (or increase the likelihood) than be delayed that 2-3 seconds. Need to stop texting? No way! Again, that text is worth way more than the life of anyone else on the road.

    Rant over

    • 93% of all statistics are made up on the spot, including your 75% statistic. If your claim were true, there’d be a whole lot more injured and dead cyclists. Exaggeration doesn’t help our cause.

  3. While it may be a good thing to improve cyclist’s safety, I don’t think technology like this is a good idea, and would put it in one line of hi-vis and having lights on during the day.
    Quite simply put, the safety of cyclists in traffic is in numbers. The more cyclists on the road, the more aware drivers are of their presence and take this into account while making decisions (did someone say critical mass?). It is in the interest of cyclists to have more cyclists on the road, so it is in their interest to have an as low as possible threshold to take the bike. Making helmets, hi-vis, or maybe even software mandatory will increase the threshold to take the bike for <10km distances.
    At the same time, it is in the interest of the automotive industry to keep people driving in cars. That's why I am always very hesitant about car manufacturers developing cycling safety technology.

    • Glad this partnership exists but the best way to protect vulnerable road users (us) isn’t a tech solution that will take a decade (or longer) to implement and proliferate; better bike infrastructure now. Please.

  4. How would this work on a practical level, the cars that I pass in traffic on my commute are passed by say 20 bikes in a row. Cant see a driver sitting in their car listening to 20 consecutive bleeps or whatever. The system would be soon turned off for being annoying.

    Mounting cameras on all corners of a vehicle may improve visibility of some vehicles like trucks and enhance safety but it is unlikely to improve the way people drive cars around cycle traffic.

    The only real solution for improving traffic safety is to remove the private car from the city scape and have it restricted to roads that are built for car traffic (motorways).

  5. I’m thankful that I’ve never had a serious accident while commuting. Too many close calls though… Now that we have 2 velodromes in SE Michigan, I think I’ll just stay safe and ride the boards!

  6. I believe this project is for future autos. Cars are going to start driving themselves and not letting drivers get to close to other cars/people/bikes. I believe this is what this product is geared toward.

What do you think?