Honda patent reveals headlight mounted radar system

Honda is looking to move to a more aesthetically pleasing answer to the radar question, with headlight mounted sensors

patent radar headlights

ADVANCED Rider Assistance Systems or ARAS is the name for systems that bolster a motorcycle rider’s safety by increasing their (and the bike’s) awareness of what is going on around them. Pretty much every big motorcycle manufacturer is getting on board, and now the biggest of all is joining the party – Honda.

Honda has had some radar systems under test for some time now, with techniques undergoing testing on the Africa Twin adventure motorcycle and flagship Gold Wing. Oddly though, we still haven’t seen the technology implemented on a road-going model – although the reason for this might have just been revealed…

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A patent has been picked up that shows a new type of system that is distinctly different to the type mentioned above. Instead of featuring a fag packet sized sensor clumsily placed into the front fairing of the bike, the system instead features much smaller sensors placed behind the lens of the headlight. The system is a more elegant solution than the blocky sensors we’ve already seen this year, and as radar isn’t impaired by lenses, solid plastic or even carbon fibre, the units view of the road around the rider should be completely free from obstruction.

There are some sources quoting that these new headlight mounted sensors are in fact small digital cameras, pointing to this set-up being more akin to the stereo sensors we see in some automotive applications. We aren’t sure that is completely the car. Cameras mounted behind the lens would be susceptible to distortion caused by the complex shapes that make up the lens. This could throw the system off and possibly cause it to miss-quote a vehicle’s speed, location or distance. They would of course also only be able to see the road ahead through a nice clear and clean headlight – not something that is easy to maintain when riding off-road for instance.