Whether we believe in it or not, autonomous vehicle (AV) technology continues to develop.  While the gains recently made have been considerable, there is still a long way to go.  Before AVs roll down our streets in quantity, significant development is still necessary.  AVs must be able to safely interact with other cars as well as other road users such as motorcyclists.

MSF and Virginia Tech team up

The Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) and the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) have teamed up.  They will share their data on motorcyclist behavior with AV developers.

Data from the MSF 100 Motorcyclists Naturalistic Study will be made available to any AV-related company including vehicle manufacturers and tech companies.  The MSF study tracked 100 riders across the US for a one year period.  The study contains data on normal riding behaviors, traffic scanning, crash, and near-crash incidents.


Study data

Interested companies will obtain access to the study through VTTI.  In exchange, VTTI will ensure that the MSF can use the datasets from AV-related research for its own use.

MSF President had this to say:

“Autonomous vehicle development is a fact of life, and while the timeline and practical application is unclear, what is clear is that on-highway motorcycles must be included and motorcyclists’ rights must be ensured.  Developers are testing autonomous vehicles on our roads now, without fully understanding the characteristics of motorcycle riders. The more they understand motorcycles in the traffic mix, the safer, better integrated, and more enjoyable roads can be for all users.”

“By providing data from the MSF 100 study, the largest and most robust of its kind, we are helping to ensure that motorcyclists are included in conversations about autonomous vehicles and traffic planning,”

VTTI Virginia Tech Professor Dr. Thomas A. Dingus said:

“It is our hope that AV systems developers can use data from the MSF 100 to better design detection, planning, and control subsystems with respect to interactions with motorcycles.  We want to assist AV systems developers in understanding the behavior of motorcyclists in the traffic flow, and specifically improve AV interactions with two-wheeled vehicles. We want to help make AVs safer, and we want them to consider motorcycles in this process as early as possible.”

While its fairly certain that autonomous vehicles are in our future, MSF and VTTI hope to ensure that motorcycles are appropriately included in their development.



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