Ducati testing smart car-bike safety comms system

A look at how bikes will fit into smart highways, connected cars and self-driving vehicles

Ducati Audi safety car-bike comms smart highway

IF YOU'VE got any interest in tech and transport, you'll know that big changes are on the way. Driverless cars vans and trucks might not arrive tomorrow or next year - but they're definitely in the post. The savings for companies from not paying drivers is irresistible, and the safety benefits are manifest from not having tired, angry, inept, drunk, high, humans with their texting and inattention in charge of 40 tonne trucks, cars, vans, buses.

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We hate it a bit too, but there you go - that's progress folks. One big question is, though, how non-smart vehicles will fit in. The computer drivers will want to speak to us and work out what we're up to, and pass on info to make everything safer. The usual example is a smart/self driving car going round a corner ahead of you and hitting some ice - it can use the data network on the smart highway to send a signal back to your bike so it can prepare for the skid, slow down, prepare the ABS pump, and give you a warning light.

Ducati's right up front with this stuff. Being owned by Audi, it has a direct line to new car technology, and showed off some new tech today, dubbed C-V2x, meaning 'Communication - Vehicle to Everything'. The C-V2x protocol uses 5G wireless comms to share data between equipped smart cars and everything else - pedestrians, signs, bicycles, and of course motorbikes. The idea is if a smart car senses an impending crash - a right turn in front of you, SMIDSY crashes, or even just a heavy brake application up ahead – it will send a signal to you via your smartphone (or presumably to an integrated display on the bike in future. That way, the smart vehicles will be able to improve safety for everyone else at the same time.

Ducati demonstrated the tech on Audi cars and a Multistrada. Together with the usual Safety Pack of ABS and traction control, and other rider aids, plus the forthcoming forward and rear-facing radar sensors coming from Bosch, it looks like traffic will be much safer for riders in the future. Ducati's calling it its Safety Roadmap 2025, which suggests when we might see more of this tech coming into play.