Automotive systems supplier Bosch has developed a prototype ‘connected’ technology that could prevent nearly one-third of all motorcycle accidents by creating a ‘digital protective shield’ for riders.
Motorcyclists are among the most at-risk road users 18 times more at risk of being killed in an accident than drivers. Last year, there were approximately 30,000 motorcycle accidents in Germany alone, and roughly 600 of them were fatal. One of the main reasons is that riders of two-wheelers are often overlooked in road traffic, both at intersections and during passing. Bosch, together with its partners Autotalks, Cohda Wireless, and Ducati, has developed a prototype smart solution that aims to change that by providing bikers with ‘digital visibility’.
The system uses a vehicle-to-bike communications system where vehicles within a radius of several hundred meters exchange information about vehicle types, speed, position, and direction of travel, at up to ten times a second. Long before drivers or their vehicles’ sensors catch sight of a motorcycle, the technology informs them that a bike is approaching, allowing them to adopt a more defensive driving strategy. Typical dangerous situations arise when a motorcycle approaches a car from behind on a multi-lane road, ends up in a car’s blind spot, or changes lanes to pass. If the system identifies a potentially dangerous situation, it can warn the rider or driver by sounding an alarm and flashing a warning notice on the dashboard. The system lets all road users receive essential information that actively helps avoid accidents.
The public WLAN standard (ITS G5) is used as the basis for the exchange of data between motorcycles and cars. Transmission times of just a few milliseconds between transmitter and receiver mean that participating road users can generate and transmit important information relating to the current traffic situation. Parked or idling vehicles also transmit data to any surrounding receivers. To allow riders and drivers who are farther away to reliably receive the necessary information, the technology makes use of multi-hopping, which forwards the information automatically from vehicle to vehicle. In critical situations, all road users know what is happening and can take appropriate action in advance.
“By connecting motorcycles, we are taking safety to the next level,” said Bosch board member Dr Dirk Hoheisel. “We let motorcycles and cars talk to each other, creating a digital protective shield for riders. The goal is to prevent dangerous situations from occurring in the first place.”