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Volvo unveils bike alert technology in cars

Posting in Design

Cyclists and drivers have a strained relationship. Bikers running red lights and weaving through stopped traffic. Drivers speeding by cyclists a little too close and not looking before they open their doors. Volvo can't solve all those problems but it's trying to ease the tension by improving cyclist safety.

This week at the Geneva Auto Show, the car company unveiled technology that can identify cyclists on the road and automatically brake if a cyclist moves in front of the car. The cyclist detection and brake technology will supplement Volvo's pedestrian detection technology that the company released in 2010. All cars with the pedestrian detection -- seven of its current 11 models -- will be equipped with cyclist detection later this year.

The new system is made up of a radar unit that's built into the car's grille and a camera that's placed in the interior rearview mirror. The radar is used to spot objects in front of the car and determine the distance from the car to the object. The high-resolution camera analyzes the type of object and tracks the moving pattern of pedestrians and cyclists. All of that information is constantly gathered in the system's central control where analysis of traffic situations is on-going while you drive.

"Our solutions for avoiding collisions with unprotected road users are unique in the industry," said Volvo exec Doug Speck. "By covering more and more objects and situations, we reinforce our world-leading position within automotive safety. We keep moving towards our long-term vision to design cars that do not crash."

The BBC reports that Volvo is also working on an upgrade that would detect animals.

Bikers: would you feel more safe if all cars had this technology? Or do you think it would cause drivers to pay less attention to bikers?

Photo: Volvo

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— By on March 6, 2013, 8:00 PM PST

Tyler Falk

Contributing Editor

Tyler Falk is a freelance journalist based in Washington, D.C. Previously, he was with Smart Growth America and Grist. He holds a degree from Goshen College. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure