Honda is developing lane assist, patent drawings reveal

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Honda filed patent designs for a rider assist that would help keep the bike in lane.

“Lane assist” is now common in modern cars, but in motorcycles it is not so common. This is partly due to motorcycle culture and car culture. Motorcycles are largely driven by people who subscribe to motorcycling culture in one way or another, while cars are largely driven by people who need a car to get around.

Thus, electronic aids that interfere with the actual handling of the motorcycle for the person holding the handlebars are generally avoided by manufacturers, who do not want to lose their heart of enthusiasts.

This is also why autonomous technology has not advanced much in the world of two wheels. You could also say that the size of the motorcycle market relative to the automotive market – in the global northwest in particular – translates into more people working in the automotive industry, and more people generally means greater advancement. technological.

We can look to racing for an example of this. Massimo Rivola worked for Ferrari’s F1 team, but was not a particularly well-known figure in the sport. At the same time, Davide Brivio worked for Suzuki’s MotoGP team and was considered one of the best team managers in the Grand Prix paddock.

Until 2019, Aprilia’s MotoGP team manager was Romano Albesiano, who is an engineer and project manager for the RS-GP. Albesiano’s dual focus at Aprilia meant the bike’s development struggled, as did the relationship between the factory and its riders. They lost faith in Sam Lowes almost immediately in 2017, and it was a similar story in 2018 with Scott Redding.

When Rivola arrived at Aprilia in 2019, he changed their fortunes as he arrived as manager and freed Albesiano to work more solely on RS-GP engineering. That was three years ago, and now the Aprilia is a winning bike and title contender.

After Albesiano arrived at Aprilia in 2019, there was a winter before the Covid pandemic postponed the start of the 2020 season. That year the MotoGP world championship was won by Suzuki, and that turned out to be Brivio’s last season in MotoGP. He headed to Alpine’s F1 team for 2021, and they won in Hungary with Esteban Ocon. But the team hasn’t progressed since; they are no better this year than they were last and have lost two-time F1 world champion Fernando Alonso and 2021 F2 world champion Oscar Piastri in the past two weeks.

In other words, the impact of MotoGP’s Davide Brivio on Formula 1 has been much less than that of F1’s Massimo Rivola on MotoGP. Aprilia became a title contender, while Alpine stagnated.

When it comes to on-road technology, a similar divide can be said to exist between two and four wheels. It’s not because the people who design the bikes aren’t necessarily smart, but because the engineers at the major motorcycle manufacturers work with smaller teams than those at the major automakers, and also because of financial constraints.

A top sports bike will cost tens of thousands of pounds, while a top sports car will cost hundreds of thousands. If a Ducati cost as much as a Ferrari, it wouldn’t sell.

So, the technology of motorcycles must be kept at an affordable level, so that people buy the motorcycles.

So back to autonomous technology on the road, which is lagging behind cars for lack of finance, as well as lack of interest.

However, be aware that Honda has planned self-driving technology, with self-balancing and steering assistance, and Yamaha recently announced its third investment in self-driving technology.

Now Honda has filed patent designs for “lane assist” for its motorcycles, according to Motorcycles News.

The system will be designed to fit the triple clamp of bikes across the Honda range – not limited to larger, long distance bikes like the NT 1100 or Africa Twin.

For the lane assist system to work, Honda will need to equip its bikes with a camera and radar, while a torque sensor will be used to measure the rider’s steering inputs on the handlebars. Motorcycles News says the torque sensor will allow the system to determine if an input was proactively made by the rider or if it was caused by bumps in the road surface.

Patent drawing images courtesy of Motorcycles News.

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