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RUBBER SIDE DOWN

Words: Vedant Vaishampayan

‘Safety measures that not only reduce the chances of an accident but completely prevent one; that seems to be the need of the hour’

German innovator Bosch has set itself a clear mission – to eliminate road deaths due to motorcycle crashes. The technologies look smart and effective

Looking at the recent the scenario with a multitude of motor vehicles hitting the roads, one of the largest concerns for vehicle manufacturers is road safety. Expanding beyond the brief, safety measures that not only reduce the chances of an accident but completely prevent one; that seems to be the need of the hour. For the sake of comparison, between cars and motorcycles, cars can much easily be made safer with the addition of crumple zone, airbags, seat belts and the like. Motorbikes on the other are higher at risk while on the road; the risk of dying in an accident is up to 20% higher on a motorbike than in a car. German innovator Bosch not only makes some of the most loved power tools in the world, but also innovates continuously for the global automotive industry. The company has entered this prevailing situation with a clear vision; to prevent fatalities for motorcyclists, entirely. To deliver on this objective, the company has developed a modernized compact safety console with adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning and blindspot-detection. Leading motorbike manufacturers like KTM and Ducati have already incorporated these systems in their forthcoming models, and will be seeing them on the streets as soon as 2020. Motoring straight onto the capabilities, we find ourselves straddled in for the future. “The motorcycle of the future must be able to see and feel,” says Geoff Liersch, head of the Bosch two-wheeler and Powersports business unit. Here’s a more in-depth look at the technologies on their way to make motorcycles safer, and to keep motorcyclists alive.

1. Sliding mitigation research project:
Whether wet leaves, an oil spill, or gravel on the road surface, wheels begin to slip sideways if they can no longer apply sufficient lateral force in a curve. In situations such as these, motorcyclists have practically no chance of righting their bikes. Ideally, keeping them safely on course would require applying additional external lateral force. This is the idea behind the sliding mitigation Bosch is developing in a research project. Like a magic hand, it keeps the motorcycle on track and considerably reduces the risk of a fall. A sensor detects sideways wheel slip. If a certain value is exceeded, gas is released from a gas accumulator of the type used in passenger car airbags. The gas flows into the tank adapter and is vented in a certain direction through a nozzle. This reverse thrust keeps the motorcycle on track.

2. Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC):
Riding in heavy traffic whilst maintaining the required distance between you and the vehicle in front takes a great amount of concentration and is not an easy task. ACC effectively avoids rear-end collisions in congested traffic situations by adjusting the vehicle speed to the flow of the traffic. This wholly avoids scenarios where there is insufficient distance to the vehicle in front. ACC is a tool worth its oil, especially in high-density traffic, as it makes the riding experience more convenient and allows the rider to focus on the road.

3. MSC:
MSC or motorcycle stability control gives the world its first all-inclusive, cohesive safety system specifically designed for two-wheelers. The system simultaneously adjusts the electronic braking and acceleration interventions to suit the riding status. It manages to do this by monitoring the two-wheeler parameters such as lean-angle. This prevents the bike from low-sliding or righting itself suddenly making the rider lose control. This is seen mostly while braking at bends where a majority of accidents occur. The new 6D sensor in the MSC system is the smallest and lightest design on the market and it significantly improves mounting flexibility and is less prone to vibration.

4. Motorcycle-to-car communication:
By enabling motorcycles and cars to communicate with each other, Bosch is creating a digital shield for motorcyclists. Up to ten times a second, vehicles within a radius of several hundred meters exchange information about vehicle type, speed, position, and direction of travel. Long before a motorcycle comes into view, this technology warns drivers and the sensors in their vehicles that a motorcycle is approaching. This allows them to drive better and more defensively. The public WLAN standard (ITS G5) is used as the basis for the exchange of data between motorcycles and cars. Transmission times of just a few milliseconds between transmitter and receiver mean that participating road users can generate and transmit important information relating to the traffic situation.

    

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