V2X, or vehicle-to-something, is a growing field in the auto industry, and Tome wants to make sure that cyclists aren’t left out of the technology advances. To make it possible for the bikes of the future to let drivers – automated or human – know that they’re nearby, Tome is working with SAE Industry Technologies and nine other stakeholders to develop a bicycle-to-vehicle (B2V) communication standard.
The gist is that this B2V standard would operate in ways similar to how V2V communications work, with the bike (or a scooter or an accessory, as they’re a part of this, too) sending out standard Basic Safety Message (BSM) signals to automobiles, while also receiving signals from those cars and infrastructure components like street lights. The communication could happen over Bluetooth 5, C-V2X, or DSRC, Tome said.
Three automakers – Ford, GM and Subaru – are part of the B2V board, along with bike companies Specialized and Trek Bicycle. The B2V project has been working on this technology since at least August 2019, when Tome and Ford provided live demonstrations of the B2V technology in Detroit. Over 100 people from 65 organizations participated in those demonstrations, and the main takeaway points were that communication was key. This means both the communication of shared message sets for the cars and bikes (or scooters) as well as the communication between the bicycle and automotive industries as they work to get two-wheelers to interact with the rapidly developing world of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and autonomous vehicles.
Which brings us back to this week’s CES, where a number of new B2V prototypes were announced. One, by Trek Bicycle, was a new Flare R tail light with integrated B2V sensors and an “interruptive flash pattern” that the company says will make the bike visible from over 900 meters (2,950 feet) away. A second comes from Specialized, which is working on adding B2V technology into its Specialized Ride App. Ford and Haas Alert also introduced B2V prototypes at CES this week.
It’ll take more than prototypes to get B2V products onto the road, which is why the working group has released a technical whitepaper to guide research and development in 2021. The plan for the coming year includes field tests and on-road pilots, as well as building more prototypes that all use a shared codebase.