We know computers keep getting smaller, faster, and cheaper, and that means companies keep coming up with ways to stuff tiny, effective technology into all kinds of things. Motorcycle manufacturers have made incredible advances in just the last ten years, and as we see with this patent, Yamaha hasn’t stopped innovating either.
All the big manufacturers install ABS, tipover sensors, and ride modes these days. Heck, nobody even considers those things high tech anymore. Now more and more companies are putting things like launch control and cornering ABS on motorcycles, and now radar-assisted technology is here too.
I know. I can hear some of you now: MORE technology on bikes? Hopefully, like the lane assist warnings in cars, it’s something riders can turn off if they don’t want it.
Some of the Yamaha patent diagrams show the outline of an R1. This bike is already outfitted with a TFT screen, and there’s very little leftover real estate. A helmeted, windblown rider won’t hear any audible alarm. Instead of either of these options, the plans show alerts lighting up spots on the bike’s mirrors. Those of us who drive modern cars will be used to (or annoyed by) this already.
So what is a radar-assisted rider aid anyway? It “sees” objects near the bike, and can warn you that you’re too close (or that someone else is too close to you). It can also potentially communicate with nearby vehicles. The Connected Motorcycle Consortium whose core members are Yamaha, KTM, BMW, and Honda (Suzuki, Ducati and Triumph are “regular” members), is aiming to standardize communications between vehicles as they get smarter. Vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication already exists (thanks Tesla) and it’s only going to grow. Vehicle-to-Infrastructure communication, unfortunately, can potentially rat us out, too.
On one hand, anything that helps riders stay out of trouble can be an advantage. V2V tech might cut down on our dreaded enemy: the left-turner. If a car knows we’re coming, even if the driver doesn’t, that technology might save some lives.
On the gripping hand, though, a lot of us ride to get away from our electronic leashes, so we don’t exactly welcome yet more tech on bikes.