Did we mention the indicators on the sleeves?
Ford’s mobility team based at the former Olympic Park in East London have come up with a novel invention as part of its latest quest to create a harmonious integration between all forms of road users – a smart cycling jacket.
The concept jacket has light-up sleeves to indicate which way the cyclist is turning, shows flashing brake lights when the bike is slowing down and even has sound and vibration functions that enable rides to take calls, receive messages and get satnav guidance all without taking their hands off the handlebars.
That’s right – the magic jacket can be wirelessly connected to your phone Wirelessly and vibrates the appropriate sleeve, so you know which way to go. Ford’s bike-friendly app will even guide you along routes that avoid busy roads and junctions.
Ford says that the jacket was developed by a ‘passionate team’ of cyclists who have been trialling it on their daily cycle commute to the Ford Smart Mobility Innovation offices in London. Tom Thompson, project lead for the Ford Smart Mobility team, said: ’There is an immediate change in mindset once there is no longer any need to stop to consult navigation apps directly on your phone – or worry if you’re heading into a particularly busy or dangerous road junction.’
The jacket concept was developed in conjunction with cycling clothing specialists Lumo and mobility software experts Tome. Ford says that further advanced features in the pipeline would enable commercial dispatch riders to access calls and messages using hand gestures and voice commands. Bone-conduction headphones would avoid blocking out sounds from pedestrians and other road users, as headphones might do – sending sound to the inner ear via vibrations to the jawbone.
The whole project remains at prototype status for now, but Ford says that it is in the process of securing the patent to the jacket so it might be further developed or licensed to another manufacturer. Ford recently launched its Share the Road campaign in London, which the company says aims to ‘foster greater harmony and empathy between both drivers and cyclists’.