Radar-enabled Ducati bikes in pipeline for 2020
Praveen M, Engineer-turned-motorcycle journalist. I'm a sucker for cruising down the highways, and twisties in the hills.
Ducati has announced its safety strategy until 2025 and at the basis of this multi-sided strategic plan is the implementation, in the short term, of ARAS (Advanced Rider Assistance Systems) on Ducati motorcycles.
Advanced assistance systems increase rider safety levels via a number of sensors, including radars. These, in particular, are able to provide feedback on the surrounding environment - helping to prevent possible collisions with obstacles or other vehicles by alerting the rider. Ducati started developing these systems in 2016, in conjunction with the Department of Electronics, Information and Bioengineering of the Politecnico di Milano University. The study has led to the development of a warning system based on a rear radar, able to identify and point out vehicles present in the "blind spot" or traffic approaching at high speed from behind. Blind spots are the sections of the road not visible either directly or in the rear-view mirror.
Ducati employees, University researchers and undergraduates developed this research project. In May 2017, a patent application was filed concerning the system control algorithms, and a Scientific Publication was presented at the IEEE - Intelligent Vehicles Symposium (IV) in June 2017 in USA.
Again in 2017, the Italian manufacturers selected a primary technological partner to ensure system suitability for production - by completing the package with a second radar sensor positioned at the front. The purpose of this device will be to manage the adaptive cruise control. This helps in maintaining a given distance (which user can set) from the vehicle in front, and warning the rider of any risks of distraction-related head-on collisions. All these systems, together with an advanced user interface which the brand has designed to alert the rider to any existing dangers, will be available on one of the Ducati models coming in 2020.
Ducati has already implemented the first actual step of this strategy called "Safety Road Map 2025"; and includes the progressive extension of Bosch ABS Cornering to the whole product range. This system enhances active braking ensuring top-level safety, even while cornering and braking. It effectively minimises the risk of falling during the delicate corner-entry phase. Ducati offers cornering ABS as standard in the Scrambler 1100, a first for a modern classic motorcycle from the brand.
In 2014, Ducati introduced the only motorcycle in the world which interacts with the Airbag jacket, the Multistrada 1200 D|air. This system, now available on Ducati’s Multistrada 1260 D|air, is designed to deploy in just 45 milliseconds. It is much faster than a stand-alone system. It protects both the rider’s and passenger's exposed body parts by absorbing impact forces via an airbag built into the rider's jacket by Dainese. The airbag is capable of split-second inflation before the rider and possibly passenger collides with the obstacle and is intelligent enough to sense the difference between a potentially dangerous accident; and a low-speed incident or a stationary motorcycle simply falling over.