Innovative technology in biking
Posted by: The personal injury help and advice team
In a society where evolving technology in the automotive industry moves faster than autobahn traffic, we’re witnessing the growing development of not only the styling aspect of motorcycles, but the safety and riding dynamics, too. The Personal Truth’s team have taken a look at some of the more recent, innovative two-wheeled technology that claims to make biking safer and accessible through riders having increased control on the open road.
Ride-by-wire throttle system (The BMW R1200 Adventure sports)
Instead of the rider having physical control over the way the engine reacts by way of a tensioned throttle cable, ride-by-wire sends an electric signal from the throttle to the ECU (Electronic Control Unit) which measures how much engine power the rider actually needs based on sensor readings located around the motorcycle. By comparing sensor readings, such as engine speed, wheel speed, gear selection, throttle position etc, the ECU can, based on predetermined ECU mapping, precisely deliver engine performance to suit. In short, ride-by-wire systems provide a smoother and safer riding experience.
Adaptive headlight (J.W. Speaker)
As a motorcycle leans into a curve on a bend, traditional headlights follow this lean angle to give dark spots in the forward direction. Adaptive headlights utilise an onboard gyroscope to calculate the bike’s angle and utilise electric motors to automatically adjust the headlight direction into the curve and at the correct height. According to the American Automobile Association, adaptive headlights have the potential to provide up to a 90% safety benefit to 90% of crashes that occur on bends at night.
Augmented reality helmet (Skully)
There are now technical motorcycle helmets utilising aircraft technology to include features such as augmented reality and voice recognition; allowing riders to make phone calls, use GPS and listen to music, all the while keeping their hands on the handlebars. Some augmented reality helmets, such as the AR-1 made by Skully, even have a rear-facing camera that projects a live feed of the rear into the rider’s field-of-vision, allowing the rider to be fully aware of their surroundings at all times.
Bosch: stability control system/traction control
Stability control is the latest technology employed to traction control and is partnered to the ECU. The ECU continually monitors information provided by sensors placed discretely around the motorcycle, e.g. wheel and engine speed sensors, onboard gyroscope. As an example, if the ECM detects a loss of traction i.e. wheel speed exceeds engine speed, the ECU automatically reduces engine power output (less fuel input, alters engine timing). The latest Bosch stability control system will also apply or decrease braking effort depending on riding dynamics to regain control, regardless of what the rider is doing. Stability control is especially useful on unknown roads that feature hard braking areas and many corners, are littered with sand and gravel or affected by surface water.
Bosch: Integrated Connectivity Cluster
The award-winning Bosch Integrated Connectivity Cluster is a handlebar-mounted digital display that displays all riding and selected non-riding functions such as weather, road and traffic conditions ahead and more – essentially all information riders may need while on the road. This system utilises the growth in Bluetooth/wireless technology, which can piggyback on nearby and household or purpose built repeater systems. The system automatically adapts to show the information needed at that particular moment – claiming to reduce distraction and enhance safety. For example, all essential smartphone functions can be used with the handlebar remote, without having to touch the device directly. Another safety aspect of the technology is at high speed, where all the information displayed on the screen is gradually hidden, with the exception of the speed indicator and warning notifications.
Enhanced safety saves lives and motorcycle safety innovations are the next step in reducing accident statistics – the only alternative would be to impose yet further restrictions (legal or technical). The one problem is the cost of technology. Development takes time and money, which, obviously, is passed on to the end user – the motorcycle buyer. Thankfully, there is a greater crossover today of motorcycle and car technology and costs can be shared. Even if this wasn’t case, you can’t put a price on human life. Stay safe.
Here are just some of the many road safety resources available online:
Please note that this article was produced by The Personal Truths team as opinions and information only.
Photo cred: Bosch Media Service – The Integrated Connectivity Cluster at the CES Innovation Awards 2017.