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CMC: ‘Motorcycles must be included in driver assistance systems’

Reliable detection of motorcycles by driver assistance systems in cars is essential to avoid collisions and decrease the number of motorcyclist accidents.

A white paper published by the Connected Motorcycle Consortium discusses the current state of automobile Advanced Driver Assistance Systems from a two-wheeler detection point of view. It also presents an evaluation of potential methods to improve powered two-wheeler conspicuity and analyses previous relevant studies.

The Connected Motorcycle Consortium (CMC) is a collaboration between manufacturers, suppliers, researchers and associations to make powered two-wheelers (motorcycles and scooters) part of the future connected mobility. CMC is a non-profit organisation established by key motorcycle makers with the unilateral goal to promote and develop Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems (C-ITS) on a global scale. FEMA is an official supporter of the Connected Motorcycle Consortium.

Just like FEMA, the Connected Motorcycle Consortium thinks powered two-wheelers should be included in ADAS test procedure development and retroactively introduced into existing ones.

Powered two-wheelers are often overseen, or their speed and distance are misjudged by other road users. Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) support passenger car drivers to avoid hazardous situations in many traffic scenarios and have a high potential to decrease collision accidents with PTWs. Driven by this thesis and concerned by the potential perception failure of powered two-wheelers, the Connected Motorcycle Consortium (CMC) conducted an in-depth study on powered two-wheeler conspicuity.

Autonomous and Advanced Driver Assistance Systems have notably evolved in the last few years. As drivers become comfortable with ADAS, they tend to rely more on this technology and will subsequently pay less attention while driving. ​Powered two-wheelers (PTWs) are considered to belong to the vulnerable road users category. In combination with their small size, they require special attention regarding being seen and noticed by other road users. Therefore, reliable detection of a powered two-wheeler by passenger car ADAS is essential to avoid car-powered two-wheeler collisions and decrease the number of motorcyclist accidents.

In recent years, there has been a decrease in fatal car accidents in Europe. This has been achieved through a number of initiatives, such as a decrease in speed limits and the mandatory use of safety equipment. ADAS has also played a role in reducing these figures. However, regarding motorcycles we have to note their small cross section from front or rear – this can cause difficulty for passenger car ADAS to detect them. Concerned by this challenge, CMC decided to investigate the role and efficiency of ADAS in detecting motorcycles and avoiding accidents.

In the whitepaper, a breakdown of the status-quo of passenger car ADAS regarding the detection of powered two-wheelers is presented, along with the evaluation of potential methods to improve the conspicuity of powered two-wheelers. The focus is on the analysis of current research, academic papers, technical reports, and other studies that have already dealt with the conspicuity of powered two-wheelers.

One of the key takeaways of the white paper: “It may be hypothesized that as drivers become comfortable with Advanced Driving Assistant Systems, they rely more on technology and will become less attentive to the driving task. A possible consequence of broad ADAS implementation may be an increase in number of car-powered two-wheeler accidents, even as the number car-car accidents decrease. The studies show a significant share of failures for the detection of powered two-wheelers by passenger car ADAS, but are not representative, due to the small amount of test repetitions and powered two-wheeler types. Therefore, in-depth studies on the detection of powered two-wheelers should be conducted in the future. Furthermore, powered two-wheelers should be included in future ADAS test procedure development and retroactively introduced into existing ones.”

In response to the white paper, ACEM (he European Association of Motorcycle Manufacturers) stated: “Drivers of powered-two wheelers are vulnerable road users who require special attention from other road users due to the relatively small size of the vehicle. This issue has become even more important with car manufacturers introducing level 3 and 4 automated vehicles, with level 3 transferring (at least temporarily) the responsibility for vehicle control to the vehicle itself. Motorcycle manufacturers are seriously concerned that this may lead to an increase in two-wheelers accidents, as car drivers start to become more dependent on Level 1 and 2 ADAS and less attentive to other vehicles around them. Motorcycle industry experts are also worried that modern cars lack robust enough equipment to correctly detect motorcycles. Against this background, reliable detection of powered-two wheelers by passenger car ADAS is absolutely essential to avoid car-powered-two wheeler collisions and to decrease the number of motorcycle accidents. Passenger cars must be able to appropriately recognize motorcycle manoeuvres in ordinary traffic, such as weaving in, leaning while cornering or splitting lanes.”

Click here to download the CMC white paper.

Written by Wim Taal

Sources: CMC & ACEM

Top photograph courtesy of Lukas Barth/Audi

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