Motorcycles are getting smarter every year. Sometimes you doubt whether this is a bike in front of you or is it a civilian “spaceship”? The increase in the number of electronics that makes decisions for the driver, or even interferes with control, still causes controversy between conservatives and innovators.
The topic of driver assistance systems is on the buzz today. It consists of adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring and collision warning programs.
Such assistants have been used in cars for a long time. They are familiar under the name ADAS. Systems capable of detecting potential hazards and braking in front of them, monitoring blind spots and warning of interference, as well as maintaining a predetermined distance and speed. This useful upgrade came to bikes with a noticeable delay, as there are radical differences between motorcycles and cars in the number of pivots and cornering principles.
At the moment when the electronics, based on the data, decides to slow down or accelerate on a motorcycle, the driver may get confused and fall. He was distracted and was not ready to change the speed! Thus, the sudden intervention of a smart system on a two-wheeled vehicle risks causing an accident rather than a way to avoid it.
The second problem was the radar’s perception of space in a steep slope, where reflections from the road surface could be misinterpreted by the radar sensor. Now electronic assistants will not change speed if they lose sight of the locked target or there is a deviation from the axis.
This is why the development of the motorcycle driver assistance system took longer. While adaptive cruise control will hit the brakes on a car, on a motorcycle the system will get the driver’s attention in the first place.
Notable success has been achieved by Bosch, which announced its desire to reduce the depressing accident rate statistics to a minimum. The bottom line is that adaptive cruise control does not completely replace human participation in driving, but is able to track important parameters on the road. For example, you can set the distance to the vehicle in front, so as not to approach a dangerous distance, but to follow it at the speed of the stream. Radars will not only watch out for blind spots, but will also warn if someone starts to catch up with you from behind.
It is known that the basis is a radar sensor developed by Bosch, which works in conjunction with the brake system, as well as the engine control program and HMI – the human-machine interface.
It would be strange if the giants of the motorcycle industry were not looking for an opportunity to introduce such useful devices into their models. Speaking of this, BMW, which has a long history of partnership with Bosch, comes to mind first. They have implemented a lot of “goodies” in the touring BMW R 1250 RT, and the K1600GT motorcycle was also seen in the demo video.
Kawasaki has also reported on the use of the Bosch system in their bikes, although there are not as many details as we would like.
Loud claims for success
– Where are Ducati and KTM ?! – you ask.
Don’t worry, everyone is here. Ducati was one of the first to announce the introduction of a driver assistance system and this year showed the world its breathtaking Multistrada V4. Would anyone be surprised that radars were developed for it in collaboration with Bosch? Small sensors will perform all of the above functions, including providing a controlled distance at different speed ranges not exceeding 160 km / h. It is logical that braking at speeds above 160 km / h, caused not by the driver, but by the motorcycle system, can catch the pilot by surprise with worse consequences than at low speeds.
The all-new KTM 1290 Super Adventure S also has advanced electronics. Who better than Super Adventure with a package of the smartest settings? The radars on it were noticed even during the tests, because KTM nose to nose with Ducati announced the introduction of an advanced system.
The question that tormented me initially: why exactly did the touring motorcycle models receive driver assistance first? It would seem that the focus on traffic, flow rate and blind spots is a pleasure for city bikes, not tourist ones. The “tourist” must withstand large forced marches, overcome forests, fords, sands and other off-road terrain with the same ease as the Autobahn.
In urban conditions, motorcyclists have to intervene much more often in driving inside traffic: to brake and accelerate, to turn – now a traffic light, now an intersection, now a “kettle”, now a “mother’s racer” at the intersection, now a pedestrian from the bushes … But a traveler who will be a long time to smoke at one speed along the federal highway from Moscow to the Urals, for example, can set itself a distance to the trucker in front and calm down. Off-road electronic assistants for tracking blind spots are not particularly useful, but with a long and monotonous ride, when there is no need to constantly use the clutch and change gears, attention is dulled.
Then everything is clear, in which niche of motor indigestion one should expect further active development of driver assistance systems. It cannot be a coincidence that three big players – KTM, Ducati and BMW – by pure coincidence, first of all introduced assistants to their top-of-the-line “tourists”.