Ford patented a technology that makes even better use of their cars’ rear cameras and sensors, allowing drivers to know if a rider is about to filter the lanes. Taking things one step further, the new technology is also supposed to work in conjunction with the cars’ brake and steering assist systems in order to prevent a collision.
Basically, this is the next step in the evolution of blind spot detection. The “brains” of a Ford will be instructed to look for more than other cars in the proximity. They will be calibrated to such a degree that they will be able to detect a motorcycle or scooter, approaching from behind, riding between the rows of vehicles.
To this day, most riders believe that the cars aren’t smart enough to detect motorcycles, but this is about to change. With traffic becoming denser by the month, more people are switching to pedelecs, scooters and motorcycles, while lane splitting is becoming a common practice even though most countries and states (in the US) deem this practice as illegal.
However, we remember the study carried out by the California Highway Patrol back in 2013 which revealed that, when performed sensibly, lane-splitting/filtering is not dangerous and it also helps decongesting the traffic. The CHP even issued a set of common sense rules for filtering that were supposed to be guidelines for lane-splitting laws across the country.
- Riders splitting lanes should not travel faster than 10 mph (16 km/h) than the rest of the traffic;
- It’s not advisable to split lanes if traffic moves north of 30 mph (48 km/h);
- It’s safer if riders split lanes 1 and 2;
- Riders should assess their surroundings thoroughly before splitting lanes;
- Riders should ALWAYS keep in mind that other motorists might not be aware of motorcycles driving between the lanes.
Seeing car manufacturers paying more attention to riders and trying to perfect both their active and passive safety technologies is heartening. Still, the best protection comes from the riders themselves, by not putting them in the way of danger in the first place.
Ford also says that retrofitting the new technology will be possible, as most of their newer cars already have almost everything that’s needed to implement it.
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