Ever attempted a lane change only to suddenly see a motorcycle you had no idea was there using the lane?
Modern blind-spot-monitors help prevent such situations, but there are other common situations where cars and motorcycles come into contact, typically due to poor visibility.
A group known as the Connected Motorcycle Consortium (CMC) representing major motorcycle manufacturers wants to make these situations a thing of the past by using technology such as car-to-motorcycle communication systems. It recently held an event at Germany's Lausitzring racetrack where a system developed by Ducati and several suppliers was demonstrated. Fellow Volkswagen Group brand Lamborghini was also involved in the testing.
In developing the system, Ducati and the CMC looked at the various situations that caused the most dangerous accidents between cars and motorcycles, taking into account both the frequency of the accidents and the level of injury caused. The situations where communication between the car and motorcycle could have prevented an accident were then identified.
The three leading situations identified included intersections with reduced visibility and a lack of traffic lights; unprotected left turns with the car and motorcycles traveling in opposing directions; and a more specific unprotected left turn situation where a motorcycle may want to overtake a large vehicle like a truck down the center of the road but is unaware that a car ahead is about to make a left turn.
To help prevent such accidents, Ducati's system communicates with the car and provides a visible warning for both the driver and rider.
The CMC wants to have warning information specific to motorcycles standardized so it can easily be added to future vehicle-to-x communication systems being developed by various parties, including the major automakers. The CMC isn't the first group to push for such a system. Honda demonstrated its own version as early as 2013.