Apparently, the main theme of 2021 now can be recognized as adaptive cruise control technology based on radar. More and more manufacturers are incorporating radar into their top-end bikes, and while Honda hasn’t released one yet, work is definitely underway.
Ducati, BMW and KTM are already selling bikes equipped with Bosch radar, which is the basis for adaptive cruise control: Multistrada V4 S, R 1250 RT and 1290 Super Adventure S, respectively, and Kawasaki hinted that they are testing the updated Ninja H2 SX SE +. also equipped with radar. Kawasaki confirmed to have struck a deal to use this technology back in 2019. And Honda, which usually prides itself on being at the forefront of two-wheeled technology, has yet to come up with anything concrete other than a bunch of patent applications that confirm that the team is planning a massive attack on this front.
We’ve already seen sketches of how Honda is going to equip the Gold Wing with radars – front and rear (more info here) – and another filing reveals similar information for the Africa Twin.
Honda may have missed out on a chance to lead the wave of radar technology this time around, but the firm seems to be planning to make up for it with a whole host of radar-based safety systems.
So, for the Gold Wing, and now for the Africa Twin, Honda’s patents imply, along with the radar, the use of cameras that add an additional level of monitoring, which will allow the on-board computer to better track what is happening around. The radar detects the presence of vehicles nearby, regardless of visibility conditions and accurately measure the distance to them, and the cameras will provide information that is not available for radars, for example, brake lights, road signs, traffic light color, and so on.
Transport-transport (V2V) and transport-infrastructure (V2X)
Two new patent applications for Africa Twin radars demonstrate the company’s intention to use transport-to-transport (V2V) and transport-to-infrastructure (V2X) technologies alongside radars themselves. I.e In Honda’s view, traffic will be connected to a peer-to-peer network, and vehicles in it will communicate with each other, transmit and receive information about potential threats even before drivers are able to detect them.
The radar on the front of the Honda Africa Twin is most likely the same Bosch module found in the flagships Ducati, BMW and KTM. As with these rivals, the module is installed in a recess just below the headlight, and one glance at the current generation Africa Twin is enough to understand that the designers of Honda knew when developing the front head that something similar would be installed there. Between the headlights there is a muffled section of the fairing, the size and shape of which is ideal for installing a radar sensor, and since this section of the fairing is made as a separate removable element, the radar can be installed there without any modification of the main hood elements.
The only thing that will need to be changed (and this is clearly indicated by the sketch in the patent) is the front fender with a cutout on the top, which will not block the scanning beam of the radar when the fork is fully compressed. The second mounting option in the patent application depicts a camera mounted in the same niche next to the radar sensor.
At the moment, only the Ducati flagship is equipped with rear radar, despite the fact that the rear sensor itself is originally included with the Bosch module. The task of the rear radar is to track vehicles approaching from behind and give a warning signal. that he, the transport, is in the blind zone of the mirrors with the help of light indication in the mirror or on the dashboard display.
And in the sketches, the Honda Africa Twin is equipped with not one, but two radars mounted in the license plate mount. These sensors are not oriented straight back like on the Multistrada V4, but more to the sides. There is a continuous tracking area in between, covering a large area of space behind and to the sides of the motorcycle and detecting the presence / approach of traffic not only from the rear, but also from the side.
How soon Honda motorcycles will get radar technology is unclear, but new patents, appearing almost weekly, confirm that work is underway and Honda is investing energy and money into the idea. There is little doubt that in the coming years, Africa Twin and Gold Wing will already be watching the road with the driver.