Mar. 5, 2015 | By Simon

Along with other futuristic modes of transportation including Elon Musk’s proposed Hyperloop concept and even interstellar space travel, many manufacturers are looking at ways of how transportation will change in the urban environment - both with driverless cars and other modes of transportation.  Among other new ways that we’ll soon be able to get from A to B will be on two new smart bicycle concepts that were unveiled by Ford Motor Company at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Monday, March 2nd.

While still in prototype stage, the MoDe:Me and MoDe:Pro smart bicycles were designed to feature a variety of ‘smart’ features including sensors that alert riders of overtaking vehicles, tactile feedback through the handlebars that alert a rider where to turn as well as pedal assistance that will aid in propulsion based on a rider’s heart rate.  

The bicycles are a part of Ford’s electric bicycle experiment that aims to explore what will be needed to help people commute in the near future - particularly in cities.  The experiment is also a part of Ford’s overall Smart Mobility Plan that is also exploring autonomous vehicles.   

As for the Handle on Mobility component of the Smart Mobility Plan - which is focused primarily on the bicycles - the resulting MoDe:Me and MoDe:Pro smart bicycle designs will both be equipped with a 9-amp-per-hour battery and a 200-watt motor that can provide an electrical assist for speeds up to 25 km/h in addition to the sensor-based intelligent riding features.   

Unsurprisingly, Ford chose to use the low cost of 3D printing to develop their prototypes and used a variety of additive manufacturing techniques to arrive at their current design iteration.  Among the techniques used include SLS and FDM 3D printing methods.   

In their current state, the bicycle designs are very similar however each is designed for a different type of rider.

The MoDe:Me was built with the help of bicycle manufacturer Dahon and was designed with the urban commuter in mind that can take advantage of existing bicycle lanes and city infrastructures for bicycles.  Additionally, the design allows for the bicycle to fold and stow easily for commuters who need to supplement their commutes with buses, trains and other methods of transportation who may live farther outside of a metropolitan area.  

The MoDe:Pro was built by a Ford design team and while similar to the MoDe:Me, is intended to be used by more commercial riders including those who deliver goods or services frequently throughout the day - including bicycle couriers, delivery personnel and handymen.

Both of the bikes utilize the MoDe:Link web app that helps control the functions of the bicycle via an iPhone 6.   

While the bikes are still currently in a 3D printed prototype stage, Ford is currently exploring their options for putting the bicycles into further development for manufacturing.  Whether they do or don’t, these are a couple of the best-looking 3D printed bicycles we’ve seen yet!

Posted in 3D Printing Applications


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