During a presentation during the Mobile World Congress this week automaker Ford introduced two new products to make commuting safer... But they aren't cars.... They're e-bikes!
Dubbed the MoDe:Pro and the MoDe:Me, these two concept electric bikes showcased a number of features that improve safety when riding such as notifying riders when a car is coming from behind. In addition to the projects being a part of a company wide Handle on Mobility challenge from Ford to its employees, designers Paul Wraith and Bruce Southey managed to integrate some great ideas that connect to a user's Apple iPhone 6 via an app called MoDe:Link. The MoDe:Me bike featured a Quad Lock Mounting system front and center as the e-bike requires a smartphone to control the bike.
The MoDe:Pro and MoDe:Me are meant for commercial, courier and delivery usage. They have 200-watt motors and a 9-amp-hour battery that provides electric pedal assistance for speeds of up to 25 km/h, or about 16 mph.
Wraith designed the MoDe:Pro, which comes equipped with a haptic feedback sensor through the handlebars for when the user’s iPhone is connected to the bike through Bluetooth. Each tick will let a rider know when to turn left or right following the navigational route on the user’s smartphone.
The Pro model is more rugged and fitted for off-road exploration, while the Me is lighter and can be stored in a car trunk or carried on a bus.
“It is about keeping your independence,” Southey said. “[With bicycling] you can go where you want, when you want.” In addition to the Pro and Me e-bikes, Ford also introduced techies to a sensor kit called Info Cycle, which is an open-source hardware and software kit that can be installed on regular and electronic bikes to gather information about how people use bikes in cities.
By utilizing user data such as bike lane locations, miles ridden, and even the amount of luminosity in particular areas, Ford’s believes bikes can improve the commutes of everyone on the road.
Erica Klampfl, Ford's head of mobility, attempted to answer the question of how popular e-biking can actually be. "It's really just about experimenting right now," Klampfl said. "[We want] to take risks and come up with new ideas."
With cycling already a popular method of transport in the EU, the e-bike market is experiencing rapid growth. The fact that a company like Ford are jumping on board just shows how important this transport segment could become.
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