Harley-Davidson is joining Bosch, Ducati and KTM in developing motorcycle adaptive cruise control, but with a special feature that allows for group riding.
The company has recently applied to the US Patent Office for a patent on its system.
Many touring motorcycles now come with cruise control and adaptive cruise is the next step.
Last year KTM and Ducati announced they were working open adaptive cruise control which has been available in many cars for some years.
Ducati even announced they would introduce it and blind spot awareness in “every” 2020 model! We will see when they release their 2020 model line-up on October 23.
If you’re wondering how this would affect Harley group rides where they ride in close, staggered formation, fear not. Harley is cleverly planning something a little different.
Adaptive cruise control uses radar sensors to detect vehicles in front and varies your vehicle’s speed accordingly.
It keeps your vehicle a pre-determined distance behind that varies with your speed. Some allow you to select a certain timed gap, such as two seconds and up to about five seconds.
But motorcycles may be a little different because two motorcycles can legally share the same lane in some jurisdictions and group rides tend to run in a staggered formation.
While the bike directly in front may be a safe distance away, the bike in the other wheel track, but the same lane can be a lot closer. That would interfere with adaptive cruise control.
But that’s where Harley’s system is a little different.
It recognises the difference between cars and motorcycles.
Safer group rides?
The system also allows the rider to select which vehicle they want to adapt their speed to, allowing safe staggered-formation rides at any speed.
Hopefully the controls aren’t too fiddly or it could become a distraction, rather than a safety device.
Harley has also applied for a patent for an automatic braking system which would no doubt be linked into this tech to make group riding safer.