Get Adobe Flash player

Feds to include motorcycles in intelligent transportation systems research

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) informed the Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) recently that they do in fact intend to include motorcycles in the research they will be doing about vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication technology.

V2V technology, in theory, allows for individual vehicles to communicate with each other on the road. The conversation would let the individual vehicles inform other vehicles as to how fast it is moving, where it is moving to, and how far away it is from other vehicles. The theory goes on to assume that using this technology will reduce crashes and therefore injury and loss of life.

The technology works something like this: if a vehicle is approaching another vehicle at a greater rate of speed and a collision is imminent, the vehicle can brake itself to slow down and avoid the collision. Or if a distracted driver is bearing into your vehicle’s space, it will automatically employ evasive actions such as hard braking or swerving.

"Vehicle-to-vehicle technology represents the next generation of auto safety improvements, building on the life-saving achievements we've already seen with safety belts and air bags,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. "By helping drivers avoid crashes, this technology will play a key role in improving the way people get where they need to go while ensuring that the U.S. remains the leader in the global automotive industry.”

When NHTSA announced that it was going to begin taking steps to enable V2V communications technology for light vehicles, the MRF was concerned that motorcycles would be negatively affected by not being included in the discussion. It was revealed to the MRF that the initial research will focus on passenger cars, but motorcycles will be included eventually.

NHTSA plans on equipping motorcycles with V2V technology so that the vehicle can transmit signals to other vehicles on the road to provide a warning of potential vehicle collision and avoid it.

Technology changes to motorcycles are certainly beginning to rise. Liquid-cooled, fuel-injected, touch screen equipped Harley Davidsons are just the first wave. What comes next is anyone’s guess. Some of it is certain to be helpful, like GPS, but taking full control of a motorcycle away from the motorcyclist is one of the worst possible ideas in the universe – taking any controls away from the rider is not acceptable. The MRF will work to make sure that never happens.