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Harley Davidson and electronic spacecraft assistants


Harley Davidson has announced that a range of electronic systems will be installed on select 2020 models. These systems are already familiar to owners of other brands, among them: communication with a smartphone to receive information about the operation of the motorcycle, tracking its location, as well as a set of electronic assistance and safety tools.

Most old school old school

Not bad news, but let’s try to read between the lines: Harley Davidson is the most old school, most conservative motorcycle manufacturer, and the fact that even they announced the introduction of electronic assistants in their bikes probably stems from what they know about something. or guess. For example, that these systems (the usefulness of which no one particularly denies) may become mandatory in a number of countries.

Smartphones are now as ubiquitous as any other device. And it is very logical to introduce functionality into motorcyclesimplemented using smartphones, for example, informing about the status of the motorcycle, burglary attempts, and in the event of theft – assistance in finding stolen goods using an application from Harley Davidson. This functionality is called HD Connect and is available now through a subscription to a cloud-based service over a cellular network.

The motorcycle status is the fuel level (or, in the case of LiveWire, the battery level), range, tire pressure, trip statistics, odometer readings, on-board system updates. LiveWire owners also have the ability to search through the app for suitable charging stations and remotely monitor the progress of the charging process. HD Connect is also capable of displaying the location of the bike on a map. The system sends a notification in case of touching or moving the motorcycle, and also informs about the need to undergo the next service.

Another function of the new electronics is what the company calls RDRS, which can be translated into Russian as “Systems that protect the rider from reflexes” – this is a typical set of electronic assistants, four of which are with tilt tracking, which in turn means that the motorcycle is equipped with an inertia measuring device that monitors the tilt angle and is able to calculate the degree of influence of this tilt on the operation of the following functions: combo, ABS, traction control and management of engine braking using a throttle valve. The latter function is proudly named Drag-Torque Slip Control System – something like “Engine brake slip control system”

The press release explains thoroughly and in detail that these systems are not capable of increasing traction on their own, but they are able to select the optimal parameters to use the available grip headroom. These systems do not affect the direction of travel of the motorcycle, unlike automotive counterparts. The rider is always responsible for speed, steering and direction.

Vehicle Hold Control – a system that automatically keeps the motorcycle on the slope (it doesn’t matter whether it is on the rise or downhill). It works like this: having driven up, for example, at a traffic light, the rider presses the brake twice in a row, and this activates the system. After that, the rider may not hold the brake, the VHC system itself maintains the pressure in the brake circuits, sufficient so that the motorcycle does not roll down the slope, and when the movement starts, the brake is automatically released.

Several years ago, Dunlop asked competitors and spectators of the Americade rally to measure their tire pressures. 40% of motorcycles had under-inflated wheels. The Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) notifies the rider when the tire pressure is low.

Many experienced riders are confident in their skills and feel they don’t need these systems. In approximately the same way, experienced surgeons do not recount the instrument after an abdominal operation – and clamps and bandages are found years later in an already completely healed patient. These systems have become a gift to motorcyclists from the developers of navigation systems for spacecraft.

Centralized digital flight control appeared just in time for a flight to the moon, then these developments were applied in fighters, then in commercial aviation, and from there they moved to solve stability problems in Formula 1. From there, electronic assistants appeared in civil vehicles, racing motorcycles and now Harley Davidson.

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