When it comes to safety, motorcycle
maker Ducati has always been at the forefront. Ducati is the only motorcycle
manufacturer world-wide to have a vehicle able to interact with the jacket integrated
D|air system, and the first company in the industry to equip a heritage/classic
model, the Ducati Scrambler 1100, with
the ABS Cornering system.
This level of safety
awareness, combined with the constant drive towards innovation, has led the
Bologna-based manufacturer to define its safety strategy until 2025. At the
basis of this many-sided strategic plan is the implementation, in the short
term, of ARAS (Advanced Rider Assistance Systems) on Ducati motorcycles.
Advanced assistance systems increase rider safety levels via a number of
sensors, including radars. These, in particular, are able to provide feedback
on the surrounding environment - helping to prevent possible collisions with
obstacles or other vehicles by alerting the rider.
Ducati started developing
these systems as early as 2016, in conjunction with the Department of Electronics,
Information and Bioengineering of the Politecnico di Milano University. The
study has led to the development of a warning system based on a rear radar,
able to identify and point out vehicles present in the "blind spot"
(i.e. the section of the road not visible either directly or in the rear-view mirror),
or traffic approaching at high speed from behind.
To highlight the technical and
scientific value of this research project, developed by Ducati employees,
University researchers and undergraduates, in May 2017 a patent application was
filed concerning the system control algorithms, and a Scientific Publication
was presented at the IEEE - Intelligent Vehicles Symposium (IV) on June 11-14,
2017, at Redondo Beach, CA, USA.
Again in 2017, the Italian
manufacturers selected a primary technological partner to ensure system suitability for production -
by completing the package with a second radar sensor positioned at the front. The purpose of this
device will be to manage the adaptive cruise control, allowing a given distance
(which can be set by the user) to be maintained from the vehicle in front, and
warning the rider of any risks of distraction-related head-on collisions. All
these systems, together with an advanced user interface designed to alert the
rider to any existing dangers, will be available on one of the Ducati models
coming in 2020.
The first actual step of this
strategy called "Safety Road Map 2025" has already been implemented
and includes the progressive extension of Bosch ABS Cornering to the whole
product range. This system enhances active braking ensuring top-level safety.
If standard ABS ensures control of tyre grip loss during braking only when the
motorcycle is travelling in a straight line, the more advanced Cornering
version allows full braking grip control even when cornering, effectively
ruling out the risk of falling during the delicate corner-entry phase. Ducati
has confirmed its safety strategy value by introducing the Bosch ABS Cornering
system also in its Ducati Scrambler family - fitting it to the top-of-the-range
version, the 1100.
Additionally, in 2014, Ducati
introduced the only motorcycle in the world able to interact with the Airbag
jacket, the Multistrada 1200 D|air. This system, now available on Ducati’s
Multistrada 1260 D|air, is designed to deploy in just 45 milliseconds (much
faster than a stand-alone system), protecting both the rider’s and passenger's
exposed body parts by absorbing impact forces via an airbag expertly built into
the rider's jacket by Dainese. The airbag is capable of split-second inflation
before the rider and possibly passenger collide with the obstacle, and is
intelligent enough to sense the difference between a potentially dangerous
accident and a low-speed incident or a stationary motorcycle simply falling
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