TO THE colonies, where our colleagues in the Yankee moto-ether are reporting on a patent application by Harley-Davidson, for an automatic braking setup. Essentially, the patent describes a setup that will brake automatically if it senses a collision about to happen.
Radar, cameras and other sensors watch the world about you, and if the computer predicts a crash about to happen, it will hit the stoppers. This setup is not uncommon in cars these days, but there are obvious problems with implementing it on a bike. If your bike slams the brakes on when you're not ready, you could end up crashing anyway, or even just fall off the bike, making a bad situation much worse.
So the Harley proposal checks you're sat in the seat, and holding onto both bars, via a set of fairly straightforward sensor switches. What's more clever though is some sort of camera or other sensor which watches your face/eyes and checks you're aware of what's happening. Lights on the dash, or even a quick, short application of the rear brake, could warn you about the impending brake action. Clever stuff.
There's a lot of this sort of stuff coming about of course. It's the next step in safety, and will be essential if 'manual' human-controlled vehicles are to safely share the roads with new self-driving cars, trucks and buses.