According to patent documents that RideApart has discovered, Honda is working on a rear-facing radar safety system that installs in a rider’s helmet.
There’s very little information in the paperwork RideApart found. All we really have is a drawing of a two-part device, shooting radar to the rear, then feeding back that information to a central CPU. From there, if an imminent collision is detected, there’s a warning signal sent to the rider, either by some sort of haptic feedback through the seat, or perhaps by an audio or visual signal.
It doesn’t take a genius to immediately throw up several possible issues with the new system; first of all, it could become a real annoyance in stop-and-go traffic if calibrated incorrectly. Then, obstructions would also potentially interfere with the signal, from passengers to sissy bars to rear-mounted luggage … there’s a reason why the rear-facing radar systems we’ve seen on other motorcycles have always been mounted to the bike itself.
However, Honda’s approach does deal with one issue that modern safety systems are facing: It’s all fine and dandy for the OEMs to develop onboard safety systems for new bikes, but that does no good for existing bike owners, and it’s expensive to duplicate the devices across multiple motorcycles, if an owner has more than one bike. Honda’s approach would allow owners of older bikes to still have onboard safety tech, and would also work on any motorcycle, in theory.
There would be some niggles to work out, particularly battery life. Even the best onboard comm systems need to be recharged daily if you’re touring, and Honda’s device would have to have the same battery capacity, or larger, to be of use to long-distance riders. However, it’s not like Big Red has promised this tech next week or anything; the patent just shows Honda is thinking about developing this technology, and that’s definitely a step in the right direction, even if there are problems to work out.