Auto Tech vs. Motorcycles – Advanced Driver Assistance Systems

 You’ve probably seen the commercials… Cars fitted with Adaptive Cruise Control, Automatic Braking, Blind Spot Detection, and Collision Avoidance. With so many new cars offering advanced driver assistance systems, motorcyclists are left wondering how they will be affected.

The American Motorcyclist Association (AMA), a staunch advocate for bikers, sent letters to more than a dozen car makers to find out whether blind spot sensors, forward-and rear-looking sensors and other safety technologies in their cars can detect motorcycles.

The results, published in his month’s issue of American Motorcyclist, reveal that not all auto manufacturers are putting bikers’ safety high on their list. Of the 13 that received letters, only four car makers responded to the AMA’s request for information: Honda, BMW, Ford, and Mercedes-Benz. (Manufacturers that did not respond were Chrysler, General Motors, Hyundai, Kia, Mazda, Nissan, Toyota, Volkswagen and Volvo.)

Navigation system

Honda and BMW also produce motorcycles, so it comes as no surprise that their systems are well-equipped to detect motorcycles. Honda stated both their automobile and motorcycle R&D departments regularly share information.  BMW said that their systems “do not distinguish between cars and motorcycles,” and that they incorporate motorcycle scenarios into their system validation process.

Ford seemed to hedge its position; stating, “While all sensor technologies have limitations, we design and validate our systems to detect motorcycles with the capabilities of the sensor technology.” (No word on how precise those capabilities are.)

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