The motorcycle industry recently took a major step toward the “connected bike” when three major OEMs announced the launch of a Connected Motorcycle Consortium to further the development of Cooperative-Intelligent Transport Systems (C-ITS) applications in motorized two-wheelers.
Officials from BMW Motorrad, Honda, and Yamaha made the joint announcement at the 2015 ITS World Congress in Bordeaux, France. The companies said the new consortium will accelerate development of connected motorcycles and scooters, whose technology development and inclusion in the greater mobility picture have lagged behind the connected-car movement.
The three manufacturers are encouraging other motorcycle OEMs to join the CMC in an effort to standardize C-ITS protocols across the motorcycle industry.
“In order to speed up more motorcycle-specific safety developments, we intend to cooperate to promote a successful implementation of C-ITS in motorcycles and scooters,” said Tetsuo Suzuki, Operating Officer at Honda Motor Co.
The newly formed organization follows the 2014 signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) by all members of the European Association of Motorcycle Manufacturers (ACEM). The MoU states that connected motorcycles will be available for sale beginning 2020.
"Our companies are already active members of the Car2Car Communication Consortium, in which we work with car and truck makers and other stakeholders on common specifications and standards," said Takaaki Kimura, Yamaha Executive Vice President and Representative Director. He noted that the formation of a motorcycle-specific consortium was the next move toward embracing C-ITS technology.
"We came to realize that the specific requirements of motorcycles are beyond the scope of this [Car2Car] consortium, however,” Kimura stated. “The next logical step is to enter into a cooperation dedicated solely to the challenges relating to powered two-wheelers."
Motorcycle industry product planners and engineers have long recognized the benefits of wireless, real-time communications and telemetry to the overall mobility ecosystem, including V2V communications, reduced traffic congestion, and rider safety. The latter is one of the paramount drivers behind the formation of the CMC, said Dr. Karl Viktor Schaller, Executive Vice President Development at BMW Motorrad.
Motorcycles are rapidly adopting sophisticated electrical architectures that support a growing suite of rider safety and control features, including ABS, rider-adjustable multimode traction control, and navigation. Future systems development is aiming to further integrate V2V features; component and system packaging being more challenging on a scooter or motorcycle.
Engineers say miniaturization of components such as controllers, radars, and other sensors is a priority, in addition to algorithm development that is dedicated to single-track vehicles’ unique dynamics.
There is also growing concern among the motorcycling community that bikes aren’t being detected by the active safety systems on cars and trucks. The American Automobile Association (AAA) in late 2014 released a study on blind-spot monitoring systems (http://publicaffairsresources.aaa.biz/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Blind-Spot-Monitoring-Report.pdf).
Among the AAA report’s key findings were that motorcycles were detected by blind-spot monitoring systems 26% slower than a typical passenger vehicle. AAA testers also found significant deltas in the capabilities of various automotive OEM systems. It questioned the effectiveness of some systems in warning time and detection of fast-moving motorcycles closing from behind the car or truck.
ACEM Secretary General, Antonio Perlot, described the CMC initiative as being “fully in line with the ACEM road safety strategy and shows the willingness of the motorcycle industry to increase safety for riders based on very concrete and practical developments."