FORD SMART MOBILITY PLAN EXPANDED AT MOBILE WORLD CONGRESS WITH ELECTRIC BIKE EXPERIMENT FOR CONNECTED URBAN JOURNEYS
Ford Motor Company is expanding its global Ford Smart Mobility plan with a new experiment to study how electric bicycles can work seamlessly with cars and public transport to deliver faster and easier daily commutes and help businesses operating in urban centers.
The experiment called Handle on Mobility was detailed today at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona and marks the latest mobility project the company has announced worldwide this year as part of Ford Smart Mobility, the company’s plan to help change the way the world moves through innovation in connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles, customer experience and big data.
These experiments will help test transportation ideas for better customer experiences, more flexible user-ship models and social collaboration that can reward customers.
“Changing the way we think, collaborate and behave is essential to ensuring freedom of movement of both people and economies,” said Barb Samardzich, chief operating officer, Ford of Europe. “The Ford Smart Mobility plan supports our commitment to innovation and is aimed specifically at developing smarter transportation systems that take the worry and anxiety out of journey planning and improve the quality of life in busy cities.”
Traffic problems and overly-long commutes have a significant economic and social impact in large cities. According to the European Commission, congestion within the European Union costs about €100 billion per year.* A study by the U.K. Office of National Statistics shows that each minute added to a commute affects anxiety, happiness and general well-being.**
Handle on Mobility
The Handle on Mobility experiment extends the range of transport solutions for a connected journey that is more efficient, safer, healthier, and enables journeys to be completed with less anxiety and stress.
As a starting point for the experiment, Ford challenged employees around the world to submit designs for e-bikes. The prototype MoDe:Me and MoDe:Pro e-bikes presented at Mobile World Congress are among the top designs from more than 100 submitted.
Both 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. The prototype e-bikes offer technology inspired by the automotive industry including, for example, a rear-facing ultrasonic sensor. This enables a rider alert system that both 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.
The bikes, which fold easily into Ford vehicles, meet the needs of different users:
After users input a destination, the MoDe:Link app lists possible journeys and then provides step-by-step or turn-by-turn navigation. This might include driving to a train station, taking an e-bike onto the train, then riding the bike from the train stop to the final destination. The app also updates the route as circumstances change. For example, if a train service is cancelled, the app could recommend that a commuter drive instead.
“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,” said Ken Washington, vice president, Ford Research and Advanced Engineering. “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.”
Ford says it has no immediate plans for a launch date, while testing is still currently taking place in London.
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