Ford has released details of a prototype jacket that can display a series of emojis via an integrated LED panel.
By indicating the feelings and intentions of a cyclist, Ford claims the jacket could help to “ease tensions” between drivers and cyclists, potentially reducing accidents.
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The press release for the jacket states that with increasing traffic on roads and different users “vying for space” that “it’s no wonder that tempers are lost, and conflicts arise as our ability to communicate is locked behind windscreens and inside helmets”.
Developed in partnership with Designworks as part of Ford’s Share the Road campaign, the jacket features an LED panel that can display a series of emojis.
Emoji expert (who knew that was a job?), Dr. Neil Cohn PhD explains in the press release that “emojis have become a fundamental part of how we use language” and that using them on the jacket will allow road users to communicate more quickly.
The jacket is controlled via a wireless handlebar-mounted remote and the jacket can display turning signals, warning symbols and display happy or sad faces to express the feelings of a cyclist.
Ford believes that this will help to “foster harmony between road users… making our roads a better and more accepting environment for all”.
While we appreciate the notion of improving communication between different road users, we can’t help but feel that the jacket once again places the responsibility on cyclists.
Improved infrastructure, tougher penalties and reduced car traffic in urban areas are the key steps towards improving safety for cyclists.
What do you think? Is this an important development or a distraction from a far larger problem? Let us know in the comments below.