The US National Highway Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recently released a report recommending that all motorcycles delivered in the US have anti-lock braking systems. All around the world, government agencies are pressuring motorcycle manufacturers to use technology. They say that technology will make motorcycling safer. They could be right to some extent.
In recent years, safety has become a mainstay of the automobile industry. To enhance safety, the government often changes the parameters and standards an automobile must meet to be sold in the US. An automobile’s safety systems and government safety ratings are often successfully used as marketing tools by auto manufacturers.
Motorcycle manufacturers are keenly aware of this and have already implemented several rider assistance aids. Honda led the way back in 2007 with the introduction of an airbag-equipped Honda Goldwing. While the effect on safety is not known, Honda was widely praised for adapting and implementing airbag technology to motorcycles.
This was not lost on other motorcycle manufacturers and as a result, many motorcycle manufacturers now equip some of their models with technology such as anti-lock braking, traction control, power modes and dynamically adjustable suspension.
A decade later, KTM has announced that they are working additional rider assistance and intervention aids to increase safety. KTM is presently working on the development of adaptive cruise control and blind sport identification systems. Sensors will be placed at the front and back of the motorcycle and used to monitor traffic around the motorcycle.
A prototype KTM adaptive cruise control system has already been demonstrated at the ÖAMTC driving technique center in Marchtrenk, Austria. The system demonstrated that it could detect a vehicle in front as small as a motorcycle and automatically maintain a distance of two seconds using the throttle or gentle application of the front brake. KTM says the finalized packaging of the system is still in development. The production-ready version will add the ability for the rider to customize the operational distance and speed. KTM expects that once ready for production; its adaptive cruise control will be able to respond faster than a rider would be in a given situation.
KTM is also working on a blind spot identification system. It will use a short distance radar tied to the adaptive cruise control to alert the rider of a vehicle to the rear which may not have been noticed in situations such as changing lanes. Warnings would be accomplished via a visual warning light on the motorcycle’s instrument screen, bright LEDs in the mirror on the side of the hazard and an audible warning.
KTM says that these systems will be available on select 2021 KTM motorcycles. There is no word on what these systems would cost or how much they will weigh.