Ford’s smart e-bicycles point the way with vibrating handlebars
Mar 3, 2015
2015-03-03 10:57:07 UTC
BARCELONA — Bicycle enthusiasts who are also gadget lovers got their fix of excitement Monday at Mobile World Congress, as Ford brought a pair of smart e-bike prototypes to the show. Called MoDe:Me and MoDe:Pro, the bikes connect to your smartphone and offer navigation feedback via the handlebar grips, which vibrate when you need to turn left or right. The bikes can also alert you of any hazards lying ahead or behind, communicate with other vehicles and even charge your smartphone, which is placed in a cradle on the handlebar. See also: Visiobike: The E-Bike That Connects With Your Smartphone
Both bikes are actually e-bikes, offering electric pedal assistance which is adjustable. When pedaling becomes too hard, the bike makes it as easy as you like, without completely taking over. In terms of specs, both bikes have a 200-watt motor with a 9-amp-hour battery, providing pedal assistance for speeds up to 25 km/h. Ford MoDe:Pro
Image: William Sands/Mashable
The main difference between the two prototypes — and they are really just prototypes at this stage — is the size. The MoDe:Me is a very compact, foldable city bike, while the MoDe:Pro is bigger and primarily aimed at urban commercial use (think: bike messengers). Furthermore, the bigger bike was built by a Ford team, while the smaller version was built with the help of bicycle manufacturer Dahon. Of course, for all of this to work, you'll need the MoDe:Link smartphone app which, besides providing the location data for navigation, also enables you to control certain aspects of the bike. For example, with it you can turn on the signal lights, located in the handlebars. Ford is not the first company to offer such a concept. Croatian startup Visiobike already has a commercial product, an e-bike that can connect to your smartphone, offering features such as rear camera, GPS tracking and security controls. Visiobike's offering is a full-sized mountain bike, however, while Ford's prototypes are much more compact. Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.