At a press event for American car company Ford during this week’s Mobile World Congress, the Dearborn, Mich., automaker introduced a product to make bicyclists’ commutes safer.
Dubbed the MoDe:Pro and the MoDe:Me, these two concept electronic bikes caused quite a commotion as they showcased a number of features that will engage technophiles. In addition to the projects being a part of a companywide Handle on Mobility challenge from Ford to its employees, designers Paul Wraith and Bruce Southey managed to cultivate some cool niche ideas that connect to a user's Apple iPhone 6 via app MoDe:Link.
From utilizing sensors to notifying riders when a car is coming from behind to folding up in a unique bundle for storage, 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.
Both e-bikes will have two different horns; a subtle one for pedestrians and another for drivers.
While the Pro is more rugged and fitted for off-road exploration, the Me is lighter, smaller, and retrofitted to be placed inside a car trunk. The Pro comes equipped with an optional rear rack for transporting goods or heavier objects. Meanwhile, the Me, which can also be carried onto a bus, can only operate electronically when connected to a smartphone handset.
“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 conceptuals involving bike riding aim to 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."
Do you see electronic bicycling taking off as the newest and next wave? Speak on it in the comments section below.
Photo Credit: Dennis Amith | Flickr