With the feds pushing vehicle-to-vehicle communication standards that enables cars to talk to each other, and automakers clamoring to get board, where does the motorcycle fit in? They already are, and then some.
At the Intelligent Transport Systems conference in Detroit, we're finally getting our first taste of how V2V and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) systems are being developed and deployed. And bikes aren't left out.
In addition to packing some of the same transmitters and receivers found on the first round of V2V cars, some bikes are fitted with crash alert tech ported directly from the four-wheeled world.
Virginia Tech has begun testing a new data acquisition and alert system, completed with two side-facing cameras, one front-facing camera, a camera out back, and another on the rider. Two radar units – one mounted in front and another at the back – keep tabs on objects approaching the bike, and combined with the cameras, they can alert the rider through LEDs mounted inside the helmet, Bluetooth-connected speakers, and even a pair of wristbands that vibrate to let the rider know where something is approaching from.
Honda is working on its own system, outfitting a Goldwing with a series of sensors to detect everything from cross traffic to pedestrians, and then alerting the rider with a light at the bottom of the windscreen.
With all of these sensors being connected to other vehicles in the V2V network (courtesy of an onboard data connection), riders can be alerted to hazards sooner and – more importantly – drivers will get a warning when a motorcyclist is in their path of travel. It might be the first step to finally get riders on driver's radar, and maybe even prevent clueless tools from making a left turn in front of us.