Ford’s indicating, emoji jacket could be a lifesaver

Published: 06 February 2020

► Developed by Ford and Designworks
► Shows emojis – but also indication and hazard signs
► All controlled via remote on the handlebars

Ford continues to insist it’s a mobility company rather than an old-fashioned car company, and today it’s revealed a piece of tech that hammers its new modern, connected ethos. It’s called the Emoji jacket, and it’s designed to tackle the very real problem of cyclist deaths. 

Developed in parentship with industrial design specialists Designworks, the new jacket allows riders to share their emotions using emojis, broadcast onto a large LED panel. The emojis displayed can range from worried to happy or neutral. 

Cyclists won’t have to divert their attention from the road though: these signals can be configured and send via the handles thanks to a wireless remote – and it can be removed for security purposes, too.

Skim past the dystopian, sci-fi feel for a minute – and the talk of ‘creating emotional links’ between drivers and cyclists – and the emoji system could actually have some real-world benefits. For example, nervous riders could be given more space and understanding than confident ones. Possibly…

But far more usefully, and fixed in reality, is the jacket’s ability to also show large bright indicators and a hazard symbol to warn drives behind of the rider’s movement. It’s this feature – not the emojis – that will actually benefit road users. 

By Curtis Moldrich

CAR's online editor and racing-sim enthusiast