Why will V2X bring more safety to ebikes?

As ebikes have invaded streets those last years, new road sharing rules must be set, to prevent accidents and to bring more space to bicycles in worldwide cities. Let’s see how V2X could accelerate the e-bikes adoption and how would it change the cyclists’ safety on their commuting journey.

A high dynamic market

Unlike the automotive market which suffered quite a lot in the past months, the e-bike market faced well the worldwide Covid 19 pandemic in 2020 and is progressing again in 2021.

The reason is quite easy to understand: while bus and subways could be considered as virus clusters for commuters, what would be better than taking care of your health, breathe some fresh air and practice some sport while going to work and back home?

The consequence of this new trend is important. In France, the sales increased by +29% in 2020 compared to the previous year.

Even before covid 19, the ebike market was in good shape in Europe.

A situation that all European countries occurred last year. Even in countries with already a strong traditional cycling culture like Germany or Netherlands, the ebike worms its way. It represents now 50% of the sales!

And it’s not going to raise down; E-bikes market is predicted to grow from 3.7 million cycles sold in 2019 to 17 million in Europe by 2030.

At a worldwide perspective also, the figures are heavy. This market of 14.8 billion US$ in 2019 is supposed to increase to 20 billion US$ by 2023.

This is also boosted by local decisions to put more space for bikes in the center of the cities, or even to push cars away, following the London and Copenhagen cases.

Sharing the road is still not easy.

Even if we saw cycle tracks popping on the roads those months, cohabitation is, unfortunately, far from easy between bikes and the other vehicles.

Before the covid crisis, the situation was already complicated: in Europe between 2015 and 2017 53% of the cyclist deaths were caused by cars and 12.9% by >3.5T trucks, 2021 European Mobility Atlas says.

In USA also, the situation is alarming as deaths of bicyclists have tripled between 1975 and 2020 (especially for men of more than 20 years old).

Comparing the market sales projections to some of those past accident reports in order to predict future cases may be quite scary. Fortunately, a new technology could change the game.

How V2X can improve ebikes safety?

Based on two different norms ITS-G5/DSRC and C-V2X (depending of regions adoption) broadcasting on the 5.9 GHz band, V2X is a promising technology that will bring more safety for all road users.

Unlike your phone or in-car navigation app that can only inform you about site-works, traffic-jam or accidents that already happened (if you put it on indeed, which is not really the case on short range journeys), an ebike equipped with a V2X module can inform directly other vehicles of its itinerary, by sharing its position, direction and speed in the surroundings from several hundred meters between vehicles up to 1 km (with infrastructure).

  • Imagine you were driving your car and arrive to a blind intersection; you would be informed of the e-bikes coming up at the corner of the street and then avoid probable collisions.

  • While using your cycle brakes, V2X will inform the vehicles behind you that you have braked, to avoid rear collisions. Being in the blind spot of a truck or car that is not equipped with radars will no longer be an issue when those vehicles change of direction.

  • Electric assist bikes could also take advantage of V2X to avoid collisions between cyclists when rolling on dense cycling tracks, like in Copenhagen or Amsterdam.

  • V2X will also help the cities to smartly manage the traffic and apply dynamic rules to traffic lights depending on the vehicles upcoming. For example, an ebike detected thanks to its V2X module could have a prioritized green light to ensure the cyclist protection at the intersection; or could be also announced to cars by LED road signs.

  • As cycles and cars can also be a threat for pedestrians, V2X could reinforce safety at pedestrian crossings, based on the same priority logic.

Where are we regarding the V2X infrastructure?

It’s true that V2X will make sense and will save life only if its ecosystem gets deployed. Why should we be optimistic regarding V2X adoption?

Well, because it’s accelerating fast, very fast. In Europe, the Volkswagen Golf 8 has been released in 2020 with a Car2X function as standard (based on DSRC).

On its side, the EuroNCAP institute plans to integrate V2X in its rating program in 2024. 6.000 km of road sections across Europe are also actually equipped with C-ITS e V2X services thanks to the C-ROADS harmonization project.

In USA, the infrastructure is growing in several states. 37 of them already have a V2X license and projects on the “Safety band” have been multiplied those years. 822 million dollars have been invested already by US Department of Transportation in the development of the safety band. The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that V2V could reduce traffic accidents by 13%, which represents 400.000 fewer crashes each year. Ford also announced in 2019 that it will deploy C-V2X in all its new models in 2022, inflecting consequently the development of the V2X technologies and motivating its competitors to engage themselves also on that way.

In China, C-V2X is already widely promoted as the National Strategy Dept aims on a massive V2X deployment by 2025. Like EuroNCAP, China’s national crash tests and safety institutes like C-NCAP, i-VISTA or C-IASI plan to integrate V2X in their rating within the next 3 years. Shanghai also is hosting each year the largest V2X plugfest to permit all carmakers and chip-makers to test the performance and interoperability of their V2X solutions together in real conditions.

So it seems that the next four years to come will make everybody know about V2X. The big wave is definitively coming.

How to take advantage of V2X technology?

As V2X is being quite a new technology, it’s hard to predict which norm will be dominant on another in the future. The good news is that you won’t have to deal with that.

At Titan we developed V2X modules that already embed both DSRC and C-V2X, like our VE945C1 V2X standalone module or our LE944V7 combo LTE & V2X module that offers also cellular capacities for fleet management, charging status or over the air (OTA) updates purposes.

Interested in embedding our V2X modules in your next-gen ebike? Contact us and we will make the roads safer together.