Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Ford Developing Tech to Stop Cyclists Getting Hit by Car Doors


Every year thousands of accidents are caused by drivers or passengers opening a door into the path of a cyclist. “Car dooring” results in 60 cyclists being seriously injured or killed each year in the U.K. alone, while in Germany it was the cause of around 3,500 accidents during 2018. This problem is expected to get worse as more people choose to cycle and ride e‑scooters in cities.

Now Ford has developed a technology that could one day make it easier to avoid dooring accidents with vulnerable road-users that also include motorcyclists.

Exit Warning provides visual and audible alerts to road users and vehicle occupants when it detects that opening the door of a parked car might cause a collision; it could also prevent a vehicle door from opening into someone’s path.

Ford vehicles already feature sensors and technology that can automatically detect and brake for cyclists, and help drivers to know when other road users are passing by their blind spots.

Using these existing sensors, Exit Warning analyses and understands the movements of approaching road users—whether they’re riding a bicycle or an e-scooter—on both the driver and passenger sides of the vehicle.

If the system detects that opening the vehicle door could cause a collision, an alarm sounds to warn the driver or passenger of the danger. Bright red LEDs on the wing mirror begin to flash as a visual warning for cyclists and a strip of red LEDs along the inner trim of the door, that becomes visible when the door is opened, provides further warning for passing road users.

Engineers are also testing a new mechanism for the car door that momentarily prevents it from fully opening until the Exit Warning system determines the passing road user is safely clear of the vehicle. The vehicle occupant will be able to manually override this feature in an emergency.

Following testing with drivers and cyclists from within Ford, engineers will be conducting customer clinics in the coming months. Part of the testing will be to ensure that the technology accommodates road users in different markets, taking into account right- and left-hand drive vehicles as well as different road and lane layouts.

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