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MWC: Ford looks to solve traffic jams with connected electric bikes

Sam Shead | March 6, 2015
Ford has revealed two electric bikes that link to an iPhone 6 app to get directions. The app also tells the bike when to indicate and change route.

Ford ModePro ebike
The Mode:Pro ebike was designed exclusively by a team of engineers at Ford ©Techworld/Sam Shead

MWC [Barcelona] US automotive giant Ford has launched two new electric bikes that connect to a mobile app to help riders get from A to B more efficiently.

The MoDe:Me and MoDe:Pro, unveiled at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, are currently both in the prototype stage. Both ebikes have a 200-watt motor with 9-amp-hour battery that provides electric pedal assistance for speeds of up to 25 kmh.

Ford said the bikes have been designed to help improve the flow of traffic around cities.

Both bikes are foldable so they can be taken on trains and put into the boot of a car.

Finish car manufacturer Volvo also announced its own ebike at the show, while others such as Audi, BMW, Mercedes and Peugeot have also either launched electronic bikes or revealed concepts.

However, unlike previous electric bikes, Ford's prototype links to an app that encourages travellers to factor in how they can use cars and trains on their journey.

The Mode:Link companion app, developed for the iPhone 6, delivers realtime information to cyclists.

The app delivers navigation information to the rider through vibrations in the handlebars.

For example, handle-bar grip vibrations let the rider know when to turn. At the same time, lights on either side of the handlebars will illuminate to let other cars, cyclists and pedestrians know when the bike is about to turn.

The app is also supposed to be able to identify bike-friendly roads, hazards and alerts, and Ford said it will be able to sense, and communicate with other vehicles.

The bikes also feature a horn for pedestrians and a louder horn for vehicles.

There is a dock on the handlebars for a user's smartphone.

The MoDe:Me was developed in conjunction with bike manufacturer Dahon, while the MoDe:Pro was developed independently by a team at Ford.

Ford said the bikes are part of the company's wider plans to help "change the way the world moves" through innovation in connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles, customer experience and big data.

A Ford spokesman told Techworld that there are currently no plans to sell the bikes to the public. However, this could change if trials carried out by the company's employees are successful.

According to the European Commission, congestion within the European Union costs about 100 billion per year.

 

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