The future of motorcycling is about to be much more automated

The arrival of self-driving cars has created a lot of uncertainty about the future of motorcycling. AI-driven automobiles are intelligent, logical machines with cutting-edge technology and innovative safety systems. Motorcycles are rather antiquated in comparison.

Motorcycles can be deadly, out of control and thrilling to ride. However, how will they fit into our AI-driven future? Will we be forced to stop riding forever? Or will motorcycles and self-driving cars be able to coexist on the road?

Understanding sensors

There are several different schools of thought on the matter, and it’s too early to tell who is right or wrong. For now, all we can do is guess.

A study published in 2019 by the European Automobile Association (ACEM) has fueled much speculation with its answer to the following question: “How will automated cars affect the safety of motorcyclists?”

Despite its name, this post isn’t particularly heavy reading. We recommend reading it because it’s a surprisingly light read. But if you’re in a hurry, here’s the short version. It questions the capabilities of sensors and their ability to detect motorcycles and other vulnerable road users. Here are some key quotes:

The systems work quite well in certain situations, such as detecting larger objects with a defined or standardized shape, such as cars, trucks or traffic signs. However, detecting smaller dynamic objects presents challenges for sensors and algorithms, just as it presents challenges for human perception. Therefore, automated systems should significantly improve the detection rate of motorcycles.

Due to their many different shapes and dynamics of vehicles compared to cars, as well as their small surface area, motorcycles present a huge challenge for developers..”

The document was based on research carried out in the Netherlands by the Federation of European Motorcycle Associations, the Royal Dutch Association of Motorcyclists and the Motorcycle Action Group. The study found that self-driving vehicle sensors are unable to cope with motorcycles.

Many simply do not understand the technology

The majority of criticism leveled at self-driving vehicles and their sensory shortcomings stem from a lack of understanding of how the technology works. On-board cameras are not only used to record events.

They are trained to search for data, and the more data they have at their disposal, the better. AI gets smarter as more data is collected. With more contributors contributing data, these self-driving cars will learn to search for motorcycles like humans never could in the future.

Motorcycle sensors have already started hitting the shelves

Fast forward to modern times and only a year has passed since the first radar-equipped bikes started hitting the shelves, but new companies are popping up every day.

Radar is fast becoming a must-have gadget for motorcyclists, and with new figures like Israel’s Vayyar entering the competition, the stage is now set for a technological struggle that will drive rapid progress.

Bosch was the first to provide front and rear radars on production motorcycles. Ducati, BMW, KTM and Kawasaki have all embraced the technology. However, we are already seeing more companies getting involved.

Rear-facing radars will be fitted to Triumph’s new Tiger 1200 GT Explorer and Rally Explorer. Piaggio is expected to unveil its first bikes equipped with Vayyar radars.

Vayyar radar system

Vayyar’s system is different from Bosch’s previous offering. The technology has been dubbed “4D” by the company and uses many more antennas than normal radar, generating a high-resolution 3D point cloud image of the world around it and using Doppler analysis to calculate speeds Objects.

The greater number of antennas in Vayyar radars results in a field of view of 170 degrees both horizontally and vertically, which is larger than the radar cone of conventional systems. On a bike, the wide field of view and vertical coverage allows the sensor to track an item as you turn.

According to the manufacturer, Vayyar’s system has a greater range than the market-leading Bosch radar (160 m versus 300 m). This is important because motorcycles cannot use automated emergency braking systems like those found in radar-assisted automobiles.

The ability to see hazards at a greater distance and provide earlier automated warnings or assistance due to the fact that a motorcycle brake assist cannot be powerful. This is because hard braking can throw off the rider. Being able to identify potential hazards from a greater distance and offer automatic alerts or help sooner is a big advantage.

According to Vayyar, the system, which includes both front and rear radars, can provide blind spot warning, lane change assist, adaptive cruise control (ACC), forward and rear collision warning and brake assist in a fraction of the time. cost of current radars (for comparison, the Bosch front radar option on BMW’s R1250RT costs £500).

The implementation of radar systems in bicycles and what it means

  • Long distance vision: up to 300 meters – necessary for braking assistance or early warning systems to avoid causing fear reactions in drivers.
  • Radar coverage of approximately 170 degrees, both horizontally and vertically, means two units (one forward, one aft) provide almost 360 degree protection.
  • Bikes can use a number of WiFi-like antennas and MIMO (multiple-input, multiple-output) technologies to track multiple targets, as well as Doppler analysis to determine their speed and direction of travel
  • Small but inexpensive Safety equipment is meaningless if it only fits the most expensive and inaccessible bikes. Even on scooters, Vayyar says their speed cameras are inexpensive and small enough to be installed unnoticed and economical, although speed cameras are no good if left unused.

Will speed cameras mean the end of the motorcycle?

Until the technology matures further, the deployment of autonomous drive-ready streets will be gradual and limited to small areas. College campuses, business parks, gated communities, and designated enclosed spaces are great testing grounds for technologies like this, as well as businesses. The deployment will be gradual; as long as it develops, motorcycles will be incorporated rather than excluded.

As long as motorcycles remain a lucrative market for manufacturers, and as long as there are still many individuals who want to ride them on public roads, governments will need to regulate accordingly, and manufacturers will need to develop new technologies.

What does autonomous technology mean for motorcycles?

It’s too early to tell which way the wind is blowing and how autonomous vehicles will truly disrupt the motorcycle industry right now. Though it’s conceivable that motorcycles will be phased out as more fuel-efficient, electric, and AI-controlled transportation becomes popular. It’s likely that motorcycles will be reworked to become an essential part of today’s micro-mobility puzzle. Basically, evolving with self-driving cars rather than being replaced by them. However, this will again be entirely market dependent.

Automotive trends follow the market and will continue to develop and adapt to customer demands. Despite the needs, wants and goals of government or technology companies, this change will not happen overnight. The transformation from internal combustion engines to electric motors has taken a century, but it is not yet complete. The transition from manual vehicles to autonomous vehicles can take even longer.

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