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Scientists turn a KTM into an accident research bike

Austrian scientists have developed a new test motorcycle to investigate and analyse motorcycle accidents. The new test motorcycle is based on a KTM 1290 Super Adventure and it is called MoProVe (Motorcycle Probe Vehicle). The test bike is developed by the Vienna University and the Austrian Institute of Technology.

The dynamics of motorcycles are very complex and substantially different from passenger cars. Also motorcycle accidents are often difficult to analyse. To understand how accidents happen, researchers use mathematical models and theoretical studies. However, these can only be made on base of practical tests. To know what happens when you brake in a corner, with or without ABS, with an emergency brake, when you try to avoid an obstacle and brake at the same time, how the motorcycle responses to the attitude of the rider on the bike. The only good way to do this is with a motorcycle that can measure everything that happens. To do so the Vienna University of Technology (TU-Wien) and the Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT) developed a new test motorcycle to replace the old one, a Honda CB500.

While the old motorcycle could measure reaction times and deceleration, and has done so with hundreds of riders, the new test bike can do much more. Not only is it equipped with all currently available rider assisting systems, it also has two independently operating measurement systems, much more sensors, GPS-antennas, CAN-interfaces, data loggers and video cameras. Next to the behaviour of the motorcycle itself also things like wheel speed, throttle position and brake system pressure can be measured. Despite all the equipment the motorcycle is still street-legal and may be operated in traffic.

Click here for a fact sheet on the test bike.

First tests have proved that the equipment is very accurate and reliable. Measurements with this bike will enable in-depth accident studies by driving the path of the accident victims before the accident at a lower speed, but recording all relevant dynamic parameters. By post-processing the measured data it will be possible to extrapolate the system state to higher speeds or other environmental conditions. Thereby, accidents may be simulated by a combination of experiments and mathematical methods avoiding dangerous driving manoeuvres or driving situations which are impossible to reproduce. This experimental new investigation method will be a next step in forensic science and a valuable method in traffic research.

Why is this important? During the past years it has become increasingly clear that study on post-crash behaviour of motorcyclists and motorcycles is essential to develop new techniques on motorcycles, but also on riders’ training. This new test bike is a good way to do this kind of research.

Written by Dolf Willigers
Source: TU-Wien/AIT
Picture: KTM