[Street] Honda patents new lane-keeping assist technology for motorcycles

Most of us are used to cars with lane keeping assist and ABS. Recently, following a patent filing, it seems that Honda is developing technology for the world of cars and wants to transpose it to its motorcycles. However, allowing computers to participate in the control of two-wheeled vehicles in a way similar to cars is still very strange. Honda engineers have understood this well. Therefore, patents related to LKAS lane-keeping assist for motorcycles and motorbikes underscore the willingness to hand over control to the rider when signs of conflict arise between “both parties.”

Similar to other motorcycle safety systems that Honda is developing, the LKAS concept is based on a combination of a front camera and sensors to monitor the surrounding environment, in particular to follow road markings and traffic. traffic. But the application to two-wheelers will be much more complicated, because the steering is not as simple as the steering wheel of a car.

Honda engineers have emphasized the subtlety of the system when it encounters conflicting inputs between the rider’s will and the cameras.

Similar to a steering damper, the system will be installed on the fork crown, with an actuator instead of a fork tube. The system is compact enough and looks like it could be fitted to one of many Honda motorcycles.

The steering actuator itself is not just a motor, but it uses a magnetostrictive torque sensor to measure the effort on the handlebars. This allows the engine to recognize whether steering input is made by bumps in the road, or by the driver, both intentional and unintentional.

Corrections to the trajectory of the motorcycle will be made according to certain defined criteria. First, the camera should notice that the bike is drifting out of the lane and then affirm that there is no effort applied by the rider to the handlebars. Then the system will counter-steer the motorcycle to get it back into the lane. Although it may seem intense, the system is designed to be unnoticeable and will disengage once the bike is back in the lane. This steering system is also linked to the Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) found on many high-end motorcycles.

Much like the ride-by-wire electronic throttle, this system could pave the way for more advanced technologies suitable for motorcycles, such as power steering, which is another feature this system can accommodate. Because there’s radar in the system, it’s likely that adaptive cruise control will also be an accompanying feature with the LKAS. As always, however, human input will come first.

Honda isn’t the only brand working on semi-autonomous technology. Radars on motorcycles are nothing new thanks to Ducati installing a system on its Multistrada. More recently, Yamaha got into it by testing this system on a Tracer. While Ducati reserves this feature for its larger models, intended for the longest journeys, Honda, on the other hand, seems to have used a sports car to illustrate its patent, suggesting that the system could be offered for any type of model.

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