Ford unveils “smart transportation system” combining e-bikes and route planning app
Ford Motor Company has launched two prototype electric bicycles (e-bikes) and a route planning app at the Mobile World Congress show in Barcelona.
A BBC News report says that increasingly car manufacturers are looking to new ways to make money by developing “so-called smart transportation systems”.
Ford's two e-bikes - one for commuters and one designed as a commercial bike for couriers – are both linked to a smartphone app that provides step-by-step navigation in order to “explore the integration of e-bikes for commuters and commercial users with automotive and public transportation options”.
The app plans an entire route from driving to a train station to taking a train and completing a journey via an e-bike. It also provides navigation for the e-bike rider via a Bluetooth headset which tells the rider whether to turn left or right.
Both foldable e-bikes are equipped with a 200-watt motor with 9-amp-hour battery that provides electric pedal assist for speeds of up to 25 km/h (15mph).
The e-bikes offer “technology inspired by the automotive industry” including a rear-facing ultrasonic sensor which warns the cyclist when a vehicle is overtaking, by vibrating both handlebars, and alerts motorists of the presence of the e-bike by illuminating handlebar lights.
Ken Washington, vice president of Ford Research and Advanced Engineering, told BBC News: "There are so many ways to get around a city, but what is really needed is a way to connect all of these transport options together.
"Being able to seamlessly move between cars, buses, trains and e-bikes and react to changing traffic situations can make a big difference both for commuters and for those delivering goods, services and healthcare."
Barb Samardzich, chief operating officer, Ford of Europe, added: “Changing the way we think, collaborate and behave is essential to ensuring freedom of movement of both people and economies.”