Swedish carmaker Volvo is behind the initiative, together with sports gear manufacturer POC and technology company Ericsson.
The group hopes the helmet will become part of the growing vehicle2vehicle and vehicle2infrastructre (v2v, v2i) scene, enabling it to inform a cyclist of surrounding danger.
Using a smartphone app, the helmet can ‘talk’ to other vehicles in the immediate area via the Volvo cloud and display a warning light to the wearer if need be.
Drivers can also benefit from the technology, with a similar warning shown on the head-up display if the car detects a collision with a cyclist wearing the helmet (watch video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Iz8VE1L2S-4).
Sounds great, or is it? Based on what was reported, the concept behind the development sounds logical. But reality does not support such misguided technology. Is it money spent on foolish dreams or pure ignorance of technology? This technology, which is not rocket science, can only work if there is 100% adoption. Every car must be fitted with such a capability. As long as one car does not have the technology installed, it is an accident waiting to happen.
The thought of cycling around with a super helmet that tells you all the dangers around, thereby freeing the cyclist of being always alert and on the lookout for dangers constantly, is absolutely ridiculous. Assuming that the technology is foolproof, which it will never be, such zombie technology only promotes the mind to become lazy.
As in all moving apparatus that can inflict harm, the rule is to inculcate alertness on the part of the user. All the human senses need to be in top form. Honing skills to be alert and anticipating dangers are of paramount importance. If a helmet is supposed to tell you of an impending danger, such as a car round a blind corner, once the user gets dependent on that piece of information, he is in dire danger. All it needs is one instance when the technology fails, such as communication outage, his life may be on the line. A simpler inflatable helmet is probably a better and cheaper option.
In an urban environment, it is 100% impossible to ensure that all the embedded technology works all the time. Consequently, the technology cannot function in reality. It is a hopeless dream. Technology should be encouraged only where it is useful and relevant. To use technology for the sake of technology is not only folly, but suicidal. Just as in advanced technology used in modern aircrafts, if the pilot start to lose his flying skills in the absence technology, flying will be more dangerous than you would imagine.
The human factor is critical. Technology is only an aid, not a substitute. It is a cardinal sacrosanct principle. All we need is to see what technology has done to the younger generation. Many will not be able to add or multiply simple arithmetic without the electronic calculator. Many cannot spell because the computer is too smart to predict the words even before it is completed. Neither can they write a proper sentence without grammatical errors because errors are “automatically corrected”.
We have been beguiled into a zombie state by ubiquitous technologies. Be smart, don’t be stupid because you think technology is smart. Start being human again, instead of letting machines become human.
For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them.