The motorcycle maker Harley Davidson has filed a patent for a technology that’s already all over the car market, but hasn’t really reached consumer use yet in bikes. So, besides a sun roof, what could the hog possibly be missing?
Well, Harley is the latest in a group of companies, including Honda and Bosch, who want to improve motorcycle safety by implementing an automatic emergency braking system. But unlike somebody like Honda, who already have a platform for this type of technology in their cars and SUVs, Harley is starting from the ground up.
Luckily, Motorcycle.com calls these systems “relatively straightforward.” Using cameras and existing tech like LiDAR, the bike would be able to scan the road ahead and identify a collision-in-the-making, before taking a series of steps that could result in the application of an emergency brake.
But not everybody is on board with this new feature, with some even arguing that, on a motorcycle, automatic brakes would make you less safe. A discussion forum ongenerated some debate, as many said they would be cautious of this type of technology due to the critical importance of a rider’s balance. When the brakes are hit hard, and perhaps unexpectedly, how much risk do you face of being thrown off your bike?
Harley’s patent application acknowledges this, and sensors used in the design are intended to determine whether the rider is prepared – both physically and mentally – for the emergency braking to engage. This utilizes sensors in the handlebars and seat to track weight and pressure and, also, helmet sensors that somehow assess the rider for “attentiveness.”
What happens after these sensors are utilized is a veritable choose-your-own-adventure of options: if they’re not well positioned for the emergency brake, the bike tries to get the rider’s attention in any number of ways before applying corrective action that consists of things like vibrating the seat or providing visual alarms.
The blog Top Speed acknowledges that the patent doesn’t really detail what happens when the rider is in a situation where “evasive maneuvers” are more warranted than braking but raises a good point – Harley Davidson has no doubt thought of this too so the final technology, if utilized, will almost certainly make for a bike that’s safer than one without it.