Ford thinks Bluetooth LE can keep pedestrians and cyclists safe from cars

One good factor that got here out of the pandemic is that extra individuals picked up biking. Within the first three months of 2021, American shopper spending on bikes and biking equipment elevated by 34 % 12 months on 12 months to $8.2 billion. Nonetheless, the pandemic additionally noticed extra die and endure accidents whereas biking. In keeping with the Nationwide Security Council, 1,260 cyclists have been killed in 2020, a 16 % enhance from 2019.

It’s an issue that Ford thinks expertise can tackle. On Monday, the automaker introduced it’s working with Commsignia, PSS, Ohio State College, T-Cellular and Tome Software program to discover how a smartphone app might warn drivers of pedestrians and cyclists they could not see. As somebody sharing the highway with a automobile, you’ll set up the corporate’s software program in your telephone. With the assistance of Bluetooth Low Vitality, autos with Ford’s Sync infotainment system would see you as “beacons.” If the automobile then determines there’s the potential for a crash, it’ll warn the driving force utilizing audiovisual cues.

In keeping with Ford, its strategy has a couple of benefits. One is that Bluetooth LE is sort of ubiquitous. The expertise has been a part of the Bluetooth protocol since 2009, that means each trendy smartphone has entry to it. Should you personal a Ford car, you received’t have to convey your automobile to a dealership for a {hardware} improve because the Sync system options Bluetooth compatibility. The opposite benefit of utilizing Bluetooth LE is that your automobile received’t have to see pedestrians and cyclists earlier than it could possibly warn you. Ford and T-Cellular are additionally engaged on a model of the app that makes use of 5G as a substitute of Bluetooth LE.

In apply, the corporate’s strategy is harking back to the COVID publicity notification apps some nations and states deployed originally of the pandemic. As chances are you’ll recall, these additionally used Bluetooth LE. Nonetheless, regardless of backing from Apple and Google, they have been by no means efficient attributable to low utilization. In Canada, for example, the federal COVID Alert app was solely downloaded 6.9 million occasions and logged 63,117 constructive checks. Put one other approach, nowhere close to sufficient Canadians downloaded the software program to make it an efficient contact tracing software. Ford’s app is prone to expertise among the identical points. 

As an avid bicycle owner, I can’t inform you how many individuals I’ve seen using their bikes at evening with out an LED mild to make themselves seen to site visitors. However, statistics counsel motorists have been driving extra aggressively lately, resulting in the aforementioned enhance in bicycle owner deaths in addition to car crashes. Any sort of intervention can be welcome, however Ford’s app is not prone to be a significant answer if it ever involves market. Whereas the Bluetooth LE answer to COVID had just one uphill climb, apps like Ford’s have two: adoption by cyclists and adoption by automakers.

All merchandise really useful by Engadget are chosen by our editorial group, unbiased of our dad or mum firm. A few of our tales embrace affiliate hyperlinks. Should you purchase one thing by one in all these hyperlinks, we might earn an affiliate fee. All costs are right on the time of publishing.

Related Posts

Marya Vinget

Marya Vinget is a freelance writer who works for may content writing agencies and for personal blog owners. She loves to write about everything from Tech to entertainment, You can hire her for the versatile writing attitude.