Slap visibility beacons on bikes so they can chat to auto autos, says trade body

Novel idea might reduce risk of accidents

A bicycle industry chief has suggested that cyclists ought to be equipped with "bicycle to vehicle" beacons so they are more "visible" to autonomous vehicles.

Speaking at the Geneva Motor Show, Manuel Marsilio of the Confederation for the European Bicycle Industry, an EU lobby group, said: "Bicycles will definitely have to communicate with other vehicles."

"It is not easy for human drivers to see cyclists on the roads, to predict their movements, and at the same time bicycles are generally considered the most difficult detection problem that vehicles systems are currently facing," he said, as reported by the Bike Biz website, which went on to quote Steve Garidis of the Bicycle Association of Great Britain, who supported the idea.

This ties into the concept of V2X comms – vehicle to everything – which forms an increasingly large part of most vendors' connected vehicle offerings. Briefly, peddlers of this tech say you can get more benefit out of your self-driving car if it can (for example) “talk” to traffic signals and figure out the optimum speed at which to sail through successive green lights. In addition, regulators, local councils and the like can then in turn track your journey, complete with all the privacy worries that such behaviour triggers.

The European Union is sponsoring the development of V2X networks as part of the interminable rollout of 5G for mobile phones. Current Level 4 autonomous vehicles being trialled in Greenwich, London, use the local 4G LTE mobile network for backhaul.

Another cyclists’ association, Cycling UK, told Parliament last year that developers who make “errors” in driverless car tech should be prosecuted; it appears that since then, more mature voices are beginning to prevail on the question of cyclists sharing roads with the cars of the future. ®

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