Ericsson, Volvo and POC prepare to demo connected bicycle technology at CES

Ericsson is taking the next step in the evolution of the 'connected' vehicle, teaming with Volvo Cars and sports safety equipment maker POC to develop technology to help cyclists avoid collisions.

The trio of Sweden-based companies plan to conduct the first demonstration of new technology at the forthcoming International CES show in Las Vegas in early January. On show will be a prototype cycle helmet with built-in two-way communications technology to alert compatible Volvo cars to the cyclist's proximity; and vice-versa.

Dubbed Connected Safety Technology, the approach utilises popular cycling smartphone apps to share a cyclist's position via a Volvo cloud service. The service will then alert cyclists to potential collisions via a helmet-mounted light, with the car driver being given the information via a heads-up display.

In a statement, Ericsson explained that the system will be an evolution of Volvo's current City Safety system--a standard feature on its XC90 model that automatically applies the brakes if it detects an imminent collision with a cyclist or pedestrian.

Klas Bendrik, VP and Group CIO at Volvo Cars, said the collaboration with Ericsson and POC is a key step towards his company's goal of constructing cars that don't crash. "[B]y exploring cloud-based safety systems, we are getting ever closer to eliminating the remaining blind spots between cars and cyclists and by that avoid collisions."

For Per Borgklint, SVP and head of Ericsson's Support Solutions business unit, the cycling technology highlights the promise of a networked society with the "ability to create connections that save lives."

In its statement, Ericsson noted that the cycle collision-avoidance technology "has exciting development opportunities and will ultimately help save lives across the whole spectrum of unprotected road users."

Ericsson, Volvo and POC's announcement comes a few weeks after the European Parliament (EP) took steps towards mandating an emergency calling system for all new cars from end-March 2018. Named eCall, the system would automatically inform emergency services of the location and severity of crashes.

Introduction of eCall has been delayed by concerns over invasion of privacy. However, EP rapporteur Olga Sehnalova sought to address such worries, stating it "will be illegal to use it to track a driver's movements or to misuse location data, which must be sent only to the emergency services."

For more:
- read the Ericsson press release

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