Ford has developed the Exit Warning technology that helps stop drivers ‘dooring’ vulnerable road users.
Exit Warning provides visual and audible alerts to bicyclists, motorcyclists, men riding e‑scooters and vehicle occupants. Using sensors, it detects the movements of approaching road users on both sides of the car.
If the system determines that opening the vehicle door could cause a collision, it makes visual and sound warnings: an alarm resounds, bright red LEDs on the wing mirror flash. A strip of red LEDs along the inner trim of the door becomes visible, when the door is opened.
Ford engineers are also testing a new mechanism that immediately prevents the car door from full opening until Exit Warning determines a passing road user is safely clear of the vehicle. This feature can be canceled by a vehicle occupant manually.
Thousands of car dooring accidents annually happen. For example, 60 cyclists get seriously injured or die in Great Britain every year. In Germany, there were around 3,500 such accidents in 2018. This problem will get worse, as more and more city dwellers choose a bike or a e-scooter to ride.
Ford has been carrying out the “Share The Road” campaign to foster harmony between road users. In particular, it developed the Emoji Jacket prototype with bright LED mesh panel displaying emojis, indicators, a hazard warning symbol, which enables cyclists to clearly signal their intent to drivers and other road users.
The company has also produced an virtual reality experience – “WheelSwap”. It helps motorists and cyclists to see the potential fatality of inconsiderate riding.