Every day, around the world, motorcyclist injuries and deaths continue to rise. Since 1975 motorcycle fatalities have doubled in the United States, with distracted drivers estimated to have caused over 400,000 collisions-related injuries in 2018 in the U.S. alone. When we extrapolate this data to a global scale, this means that 25%-33% of all accident victims are motorcyclists.
Distracted drivers can be fatal for riders, our small size and lack of protective vehicle structure means that while we hope for the best, we need to prepare for the worst.
Advanced Rider Assistance Systems
Recently, major manufacturers like Bosch and BMW have teamed up to attempt to produce a motorcycle product that can prevent crashes before they happen. These crash prevention systems are what we call Advanced Rider Assistance Systems for Powered Two-Wheelers (ARAS-PTW), and BMW/Bosch’s version is part of the vehicle’s Active Cruise Control (ACC). These systems provide accident prevention functions, using radar technology, which works by utilizing sensors to detect and alert the rider of automobile collision threats in real-time.
However, while the ARAS concept to help keep riders safe is a good one, Bosch’s radar-based systems (front collision warning, blind spot detection, and Adaptive Cruise Control ) create several significant, and even dangerous problems for motorcyclists:
- Motorcycle Control: Bosch’s Active Cruise Control (ACC) only detects and responds to moving vehicles in front of the motorcycle,and then takes over the vehicle’s braking and accelerating systems when the program deems it necessary. When activated, the function even kicks in during cornering by “managing” the rider’s speed to maintain a “comfortable lean angle” (by adding revs to the engine or automatically applying brakes). This not only could spoil a fun ride, but poses a significant safety threat if the system ever malfunctions or catches the rider off guard. For this reason, the ACC system can really only safely be used by riders in limited cases — particularly on large hiways and while riding in a straight line.
- Lean Angle Problems: Bosch’s radar-guided ACC, front collision warning, and blind spot detection systems are limited to detecting threats within the scope of their radars. This means any rider using the system does not have 360° protection or visibility. Furthermore according to BMW, the radar’s detection ability greatly decreases while cornering. It’s estimated that the Advanced Rider Assistance System’s ACC and front-collision warning will not work at lean angles as small as 14° (which most motorcyclists achieve while navigating a roundabout).
- Complex and Distracting: According to the manufacturer, Bosch’s forward-mounted display panel keeps the rider “permanently informed” of their motorcycle’s status and surrounding perceived threats with constant visual, acoustic or haptic warnings and readings. As riders, we know how dangerous even a moment of distraction can be while on the road… spending several seconds at highway speeds attempting to read, interpret, and then respond to complex display alerts could be life-threatening.
- Installation and Bulk: Bosch’s ACC system appears to be designed to fit only large, modern motorcycles, leaving a significant portion of the world market exposed. The ACC system cannot be retrofitted for older or smaller motorcycle models, as the required components are either too advanced (ABS, canbus, torque control), too large (the computer system alone is larger than most ECUs) or too bulky — with the display panel alone unable to fit on most small motorcycles or scooters.
- Cost: All over the world motorcycles are used as a low budget hobby or way to commute. When premium brands like BMW launch complex radar-based Advanced Rider Assistance Systems, they have the capacity to cost thousands of dollars. This puts this potentially lifesaving technology out of reach for millions of riders all over the world.
- Traffic Limitations: Shockingly, BMW’s system — which spends significant amounts of effort on informing riders of forward-facing threats — cannot respond to stationary vehicles. This means if you’re approaching the back of a queue of cars, or traffic stopped on the road, the ACC system will not function even while engaged.
- Significance: The vast majority of fatal or injurious motorcycling accidents are caused by automobile drivers colliding with motorcyclists. While BMW’s technology is promising, much of their system’s operations are designed to prevent the rider from colliding with forward facing cars — and even in that effort, the system doesn’t always function properly (see Traffic Limitations above). This radar system also fails to determine collision threats when at lean angles, which as riders, we know this happens quite frequently!
Considering all of the above, it’s clear that radar technology isn’t a viable future for motorcycle Advanced Rider Assistance Systems.
What riders actually need is a compact, brand agnostic, affordable, non-distracting, full 360° camera coverage alert system to make them aware of automobile collision threats in real-time… and at Ride Vision, we’ve developed exactly that.
Introducing: Ride Vision
Ride Vision is an ARAS that is a proven, and complete, motorcycle collision avoidance system.
With Ride Vision technology, riders are surrounded by a 360° safety system at all times, and in all riding conditions and situations. Two small HD cameras mounted on the rear and front of the vehicle transmit footage to the motorcycle’s ECU, which uses a patented algorithm to detect and notify riders of collision threats in real-time.
These threats are translated into a series of nondisruptive (yet very visible) alerts, which are designed to make the rider aware of the crucial threats around them, while still allowing them to keep their focus on the road ahead.
Motorcycle Road Threats
Which threats are crucial? Great question. Studies have shown that keeping a safe distance between automotive and motorcyclists is essential to preventing and reducing the severity of crashes. That’s why Ride Vision’s alerts are designed to keep riders aware of a variety of collision threats that could be around them. The 360° HD camera system is designed to detect forward collision, blind spots, merging, and even future rear collision threats. The system automatically starts with your motorcycle, and is hardwired to the battery so there’s no need to worry about charging Ride Vision or remembering to turn it on.
Ride Vision’s alerts appear via LED lights (Warning Indicators), which are located on each motorcycle mirror. This means a rider will never have to take their eyes off the road to be made aware of collision threats. Notification settings are completely customizable with the Ride vision app, which is where the rider can also activate the audio option for Ride Vision notifications as well.
Speed, location and other ride data are also available to access within the Ride Vision app, which riders can easily share and compare with friends. All Ride Vision systems feature up to 2 hours of internal storage loop recording, which can be used to preserve memories, explore insurance discounts, or even as evidence in legal cases.
Ride Visions price point and installation process also make it an available product for riders of all budgets, and almost all motorcycle makes and models. This lifesaving, durable (IP69K rated), and compact system will fit any two-wheeled vehicle, and will be available to purchase for roughly the cost of a GoPro.
Currently, Ride Vision is set to release worldwide in the fall of 2020. Pre-order yours today, and sign up below to be notified about future product releases, version updates, and motorcycling safety.