Safety is one of the key points of driving a motorcycle, yet that somehow receives less attention in the motorcycle sector. The escalation of performance and efficiency have been the main protagonists when it comes to taking new models and it was not until the arrival of the ABS and the traction controls that bikes started to become actually safer.
Biking security systems still have a long way to go. But at least nowadays, KTM, an Israeli company, is developing a 360° system that could prevent numerous motorcycle accidents in a way that no one ever expected. Still, it isn’t nearly comparable to safety measures taken by car developers. Active safety has been an issue with cars for decades and it really helps in avoiding accidents. Before, safety measures were in the hands of manufacturers, avoiding accidents was the rider’s sole responsibility. Drivers had to stay alert, awake, and hyper-aware at all times. They need to analyze and react to changes in the traffic environment within seconds.
This “constantly alert motorist” factor will continue to be a determining factor in the future, but it never hurts to have a backup plan, because as humans we can always make mistakes. That’s where that 360 technology comes in. Ride Vision is a technological company looking to apply an extra eye to watch what happens and alert the rider about traffic. A very powerful eye with a 360-degree view.
Ride Vision is aware that as technology moves forward with automation for vehicles and transportation. Safety for bikes doesn’t really seem to be a priority in the industry. It’s almost as if two-wheelers don’t matter when it comes to safety.
They pose that is because of the challenges that the medium poses. Bikes are usually super fast, yet lightweight, and developing technology for them is really hard because it can mess up the dynamics. They might be the only ones with the solution, though.
Ride Vision is here to change that, though. Their proposal consists of two cameras and a switchboard with deep learning algorithms that are being developed as you read this, specifically for use in motorcycles. Because of the dimensions of a motorcycle, it is not possible to place the device used on a car, the system must be specific to respond to the specific needs of a motorcycle.
If the system detects a vehicle or object that may pose a risk to the rider, a sound and visual warning is issued in 100 milliseconds and the caution is connected to warn those who are driving behind a possible emergency braking but always leaving the responsibility of the reaction in the hands of the rider. A second step (as with the system that is testing KTM) will be to implement this information with brake automation so that collisions are avoided even if the rider doesn’t have enough time to react.
Maybe the biggest challenge at the moment for the development team of this system is that when it is applied to a motorcycle its size must be very compact and, in addition, lightweight, so it doesn’t influence the vehicle’s behaviour. Size is simply a matter of evolution, money and time in the world of electronics; more problems involve the location of the sensors since they will likely be very exposed to weather changes, bumps, dirt and all the factors riders usually see on the road.
Either way, any kind of safety devices will always be welcomed on the biker’s world, if there are chances that more and more accidents will be avoided, that fewer lives will be lost due to a rider’s mishap, any new tech will be a blessing for us all.