Bicycle-to-vehicle (B2V) communications being developed by new consortium

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Nine leading bicycle, e-scooter and automakers – including Ford, Specialized, and Trek Bicycle, as initial partners – have announced they are joining SAE Industry Technologies to lead development of a bicycle-to-vehicle (B2V) communication standard.

B2V communication technology developer Tome Software has initiated the unprecedented collaboration with captains of the automotive and cycling industries, establishing a new global effort with the intention of creating safer roads for road users.

The push to make streets safer for all users comes at a time when bicycle usage is at an all-time high. The new consortium will research and consider a wide range of cutting-edge technology options.

B2V technology is designed to allow vehicles to directly communicate with bikes, scooters, and roadside infrastructure, such as traffic signs and construction zones. It also provides opportunities for direct bicycle electronics integration, as well as mobile phone app integration for cyclists. Trek Bicycle, for example, is integrating B2V sensors into its Flare R tail light, which increases conspicuity for cyclists with its interruptive flash pattern that is visible from over 900m during the day or night.

The team finalizing the consortium plan includes executive leadership representation from Bosch, Ford Motor Company, Hammerhead, Shimano, Specialized, and SRAM, Tome Software, and Trek Bicycle. The new consortium is in its final pre-planning phase and will be seeking new members and offering a range of information and education resources to share its vision.

Ford and Tome have been leading a prototype working group the past year to research the feasibility and develop potential tech solutions for communicating between road users and vehicles. Ford, Specialized, Tome, Trek Bicycle, and Haas Alert publicly announced B2V prototypes at CES 2021.

Pieter Morgan, founder and CEO of Hammerhead, says, “With more cyclists on the road, there are more accidents than ever. Technology allows you to see traffic slowdowns, and generate alerts on your dash when another vehicle is too close. We are excited to develop technology on our cycling computer that would let drivers know when there is a cyclist nearby.”

“Cyclists and e-scooter riders are a growing part of mobility solutions sharing roads, which is why Ford is investing heavily in ways to improve awareness between road users and allow more confident mobility – whether you’re on two or four wheels,” says Chuck Gray, vice president, Vehicle Components and Systems Engineering of Ford Motor Company, which recently acquired the Spin e-scooter business. “As we advance the technology, we also need other industry leaders to join in developing standardized wireless communications technologies that can help accelerate these types of innovations for more people, sooner.”

Specialized is working on prototyping B2V technology integrated with the Specialized Ride App. This will help riders and motorists be more aware of their surroundings.

“We believe that bikes have the power to pedal the planet forward – improving mental and physical health and serving as a powerful tool in combating the climate crisis. It’s simple, the world needs more people on bikes. To make that happen, we need to make sure that riding a bike is safer than it is today for all riders. We’re excited to cooperate with other cycling and automotive partners to develop technology for added rider safety,” says Bob Margevicius, executive vice president at Specialized.

The B2V prototyping working group has released an updated technical whitepaper, and continues the research and development process in 2021 with field tests and on-road pilots. All working group members are developing prototypes on a shared codebase.

“We have completed a critical milestone in cross-industry collaboration while we continue the research and development process through 2021 testing and on-road data collection pilots,” said Jake Sigal, founder and CEO of Tome Software. “We now have solidified a clear path to standards, continuing our mission for safer roads for all road users.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International magazine and the Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs in charge of public agencies around the world as well as chairmen and CEOs of multinational transportation technology corporations. Tom's early career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).