Cruise control in motorcycles? Here's how it works
Though cruise control was first introduced in four-wheelers, technological advancements have also seen derivatives of this system being introduced in motorcycles.
November 20, 2019 / 03:51 PM IST
Over the years, automobile technology has improved to provide maximum security and comfort to the user, while minimising risks and human errors. One of these systems is cruise control, which allows the vehicle to travel at a certain speed without human input.
Though cruise control was first introduced in four-wheelers, technological advancements have also seen derivatives of this system being introduced in motorcycles. Dubbed adaptive cruise control, the latest motorcycle to be equipped with it is expected to be KTM’s 1290 Super Adventure. Kawasaki is also expected to be the first Japanese motorcycle manufacturer to equip adaptive cruise control in its motorcycle.
Cruise control has been typically spotted in cross country cruisers, with simple systems allowing the rider to maintain a constant speed without having to give throttle input. It is easier for the motorcycle to adapt to cruise control if it is also equipped with a ride-by-wire throttle. More advanced adaptations of cruise control, such as the one on the BMW K 1600 GTL, allows the user to change the set speed using electronic switches.
Adaptive cruise control is an advanced version of the standard cruise control, which allows the motorcycle to set its riding speed as per the vehicular moment in the front. These motorcycles are equipped with radar sensors which consist of a transmitter and receiver. The former sends radio waves to reflect off objects in the front and the latter receives and decodes them to judge the size and proximity of the object in front.
This technology will help the motorcycle collect its surrounding data in its electronic control unit (ECU). The ECU then uses the data to maintain the exact distance from the vehicle in front as was set by the rider. If the vehicle ahead accelerates, the readings will tell the ECU to increase its throttle input, thus increasing its speed and catching up to it. On the contrary, if the vehicle ahead brakes, the ECU applies brakes on the motorcycle to reduce its speed and keep both the vehicles aligned.
However, given the realistic condition of traffic and roads in India, it is highly unlikely that adaptive control would work successfully in the country. The primary reason for this is the unpredictability and indiscipline of traffic. Even if the ECU detects a certain distance from the vehicle in front, it will be fluctuating continuously as people weave in and out of gaps on the city roads.