Top sports motor cycle brand to employ radar protection on its products from 2020. Paul Myles reports.

Italian motor cycle manufacturer Ducati is entering the field of sophisticated ADAS with plans to build bikes boasting radar monitoring front and rear in the next two years.

The Bologna factory says it has developed a multi-sided safety strategic plan with the implementation, initially, of advanced rider assistance systems (ARAS) on its motor cycles. These systems will include radars to provide feedback on the surrounding environment and to prevent possible collisions with obstacles or other vehicles by alerting the rider.

The marketing theory is that, while safety has not traditionally been a selling point for motor cycles, consumers are becoming increasingly aware of connected services and ADAS in their automobiles and could becoming more amenable to these being present on their two-wheeled transport. Ducati’s existing airbag jacket technology launched in 2014 with the Multistrada 1200 D|air has become a popular option for many weekend fun-seekers who still appreciate the peace-of-mind the technology can deliver. This system is designed to deploy in just 45 milliseconds protecting both the rider’s and passenger's exposed body parts by absorbing impact forces via an airbag expertly built into the rider's jacket by Dainese. A similar system has been employed in top-flight MotoGP racing and the fact that racers like Valentino Rossi use the technology has gone some way to it gaining acceptability among the wider motor cycle fraternity.

Ducati’s strategy, dubbed Safety Road Map 2025, is aimed at moving motor cycle safety forward to 2025, was developed in conjunction with the department of electronics, information and bioengineering of the Politecnico di Milano University. A rear-facing radar will be able to identify and point out vehicles present in the "blind spot" or traffic approaching at high speed from behind. 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) on June 11-14, 2017, at Redondo Beach, CA, USA.

Also in 2017, Ducati selected a primary technological production partner to build the system which now also includes a second radar sensor positioned at the front. As with technology seen in automobiles, the radar will manage adaptive cruise control, allowing a user selected distance to be maintained from the vehicle in front and warning the rider of any risks of distraction-related head-on collisions. This technology is expected to come to market on one of the Ducati models by 2020.

The first step of this strategy has already been implemented and includes the progressive extension of Bosch ABS Cornering to the whole product range. This more advanced ABS allows full braking grip control even when cornering, effectively ruling out the risk of falling during the transitional corner-entry phase.

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