Autonomous cars for sometime have struggle to detect and react to cyclists on the road. According to a report by the IEEE Spectrum, bicycles are generally considered “the most difficult detection problem” that autonomous vehicle systems face. Although the numbers are high, it isn’t surprising as human drivers themselves, have had a hard time sharing the road with bike riders.
It is a multifaceted problem, as it collectively involves many parties who need to facilitate peaceful coexistence on the same roadways. One solution presented by Ford, Tome Software and Trek Bicycle at CES last month is a concept known as bicycle-to-vehicle communications. Instead of autonomous vehicles being the only ones to wirelessly communicate with one another, bikes would also be able to join the party.
The proposed technology would be brand agnostic, something any cyclist could affix to herself or her bike. The key safety aspect of this connectivity would be that drivers would be alerted when a cyclist is nearby. Tome plans to hone its software, which could then be licensed out to vehicles, apps, bike accessories, and car accessories, at the Mcity autonomous driving test facility at the University of Michigan over the next year.