Employees at Ford’s London innovation centre have created a prototype smart jacket designed to enhance the safety and comfort of cyclists. Making use of LED lighting, vibrating sleeves and a connection to a dedicated smartphone app, this wearable piece of tech guides users and lets other road users know when they are about to turn.
A group of UK-based Ford employees have designed a prototype smart jacket intended to help cyclists make easier and safer journeys on the roads. When connected to the app developed by the carmaker’s engineers, the jacket makes riders more visible to other road users, while also helping them take the best route, as reports Capital.
Developed by the Ford Smart Mobility team at the company’s R&D centre in London, the jacket comes with LED lights on the sleeves. When the cyclist turns to the right, the lights on that sleeve come on, with the left sleeve lighting up if they turn left. The jacket also comprises a flashing brake light.
Another function that improves the safety of users are the audible and haptic interfaces. Developed in partnership with urban cycling clothing specialists Lumo and mobility software experts Tome, the jacket enables riders to take calls, receive messages and repeat navigation guidance, allowing them to stay fully focused on the road.
Aside from reducing the risk of accidents, the jacket also helps users find their way around, thanks to transmitters fitted inside it, which connect to a GPS navigation service and vibrate the left or right sleeve, indicating which way they need to turn. As a result, riders can take the best possible route and avoid traffic jams.
Happier road users
The jacket has been tested by its designers, who are themselves experienced cyclists and are well versed in the realities and dangers of using the road. “At Ford, we want to help people – and goods – move more safely, confidently and freely around our cities,” said project lead Tom Thomson. “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.”
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