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Suzuki’s radar love | Manufacture News | News

Ducati stole the limelight in automotive autonomy earlier this month but Suzuki engineers are also working on making motorcyclists electronically more visible in traffic.

Designs from a new patent application made in Japan show Suzuki’s ideas to fit motorcycles and even small cars with radar reflectors. These will make riders stand out more to vehicles that use on-board radars to work out their surroundings.

An increasing number of new vehicles feature radar-assisted cruise-control systems, not to mention automatic collision-avoidance and braking technologies that depend on radar. And since bikes are inevitably a smaller target for those radar systems, it’s no surprise to discover that they’re harder for these semi-autonomous vehicles to ‘see’.

Suzuki’s solution is  simple: fit arrays of radar reflectors. These basically use the opposite of stealth technology – instead of being hard for radars to spot, they’re designed to give a stronger reflection. Suzuki’s patent shows small, geometrically-shaped reflectors that can be tucked inside motorcycle light units or fitted on mirrors.

With no need for  electronics or power, they should be cheap to make and could possibly even be retro-fitted to existing models. Think of them as a futuristic equivalent of riding in a hi-viz jacket.

Suzuki’s patent application suggests four or five of these radar reflectors  fitted to the front and rear of bikes to make sure they’re always in the line of sight to another vehicle’s radar.

Not alone

Suzuki isn’t the only manufacturer exploring this field. Ducati is promising at least one radar-equipped new model in its 2020 range, probably an updated Multistrada. KTM is also expected to debut a similar system around the same time. Bosch, which facilitated the rapid spread of cornering ABS and lean-sensitive traction control systems by offering ‘off-the-shelf’ solutions for manufacturers, has also developed its own front and rear motorcycle radar systems.