An industry expert has warned that in the future cyclists will have to be equipped with ‘bicycle to vehicle’ beacons so that they will be ‘visible’ to  autonomous vehicles.

Giving a keynote speech at the Symposium on the Future Networked Car, 2018, – a part of the Geneva Motor Show – Manuel Marsilio, the general manager of the Confederation for the European Bicycle Industry said that “as intelligent transport systems and automated driving are fast moving towards commercialization and market acceptance… Bicycles will definitely have to communicate with other vehicles.”

Cyclists Need Beacons So Self Driving Cars Will See Them

In the future it’s possible that all bikes will come pre-fitted with beacons so that self-driving cars will be able to see them.

Embrace the future

Marsilio also said that with the high levels of investment in automation, “the penultimate step to fully automated driving, are expected on the road by 2020 and hold great promises to improve road safety, reduce congestion and emissions”, but that in order for cyclists to be safe in this brave new world, they will have to wear beacons that transmit and warn vehicles that there is someone on a bike in close proximity.

Global stakeholders

The symposium was mainly attended by vehicle manufacturer representatives, and government officials from around the world, and chiefly involved discussing the current status and future of vehicle communications and automated driving.

“The future of mobility will be electrified, automated and connected: bicycles and e-bikes will play a major role in personal mobility, in recreation and in commercial transportation. They will be connected and will represent an important element of the Internet of Things ecosystem. In other words they will become ‘smart’. Bikes will foresee monitoring systems for real-time usage and sensor data, while WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS and GPRS connections are going to offer the connectivity for next generations bikes and e-bike riders. From the security point of view, connectivity will provide users with theft alerts and geofencing”.​

Life saving technology

According to Marsilio, many lives could be saved in the years to come if cycles were fitted with ‘bicycle-to-vehicle’ beacons, as a standard manufacturing practive. “To improve road safety, bicycles will have to communicate with the other vehicles as well as with the road infrastructure. This interaction will allow road users and traffic managers to coordinate their actions. Finally connectivity will significantly improve road safety and traffic efficiency by helping cyclists to take the right decisions and adapt to the traffic situations”.