Keep your distance: BMW to launch radar-guided cruise control

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BMW have joined the list of manufacturers working to release a radar-guided cruise control function for motorcycles. Following Ducati’s announcement that they will be first to market and spyshots showing a similar system used by KTM and BMW themselves, the Bavarian brand have released details of how their system will work.

The Active Cruise Control (ACC) system has been developed with Bosch and will allow the rider to set not only a cruising speed but also a distance from the vehicle ahead, which is detected using a radar sensor at the front of the bike.

The radar unit uses this information, plus yaw rate and current vehicle speed to calculate the likely path the motorcycle will take in the next 100m and then, if necessary, modulate speed.

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A required adjustment is sent via the bike’s CAN bus to the ABS, which can add revs to the engine or apply the brakes depending on what is needed.

Both the distance to the car in front and maximum vehicle speed can be set in three stages at the touch of a button and will be displayed on the dash. ACC features two riding modes, comfortable or dynamic, which alter how aggressively the bike accelerates and decelerates.

BMW's radar-guided cruise control system in action

The system also incorporates ‘curve speed control’, which manages your speed in a turn to maintain a ‘comfortable lean angle’. As you lean further, the bike limits its interventions to avoid unsettling the rider.

This feature will also prevent unexpected acceleration while you are leaning in a bend if, for example, the radar loses sight of the vehicle ahead (BMW say the radar’s capability is limited while you’re cornering).

The system doesn’t respond to stationary vehicles, either, so if you are approaching the back of a queue of traffic you have to do your own braking.

The controls and display of BMW's radar-guided cruise control

If the system is unable to operate, a symbol on the dash will let you know that you are in full control of your bike. There is also a second warning to let you know you are in a situation where emergency braking may be necessary because the braking capabilities of the system are limited for safety reasons.

BMW say that the rider will take an active role in the effectiveness of ACC by riding in the centre of their lane, making lane changes and overtakes clear (the system reacts to the use of indicators) and adopting a calm riding style.

BMW haven't confirmed when the system will arrive, how much it will cost or which models will receive this technology but mock-up images from BMW feature their touring K1600GT model.

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Ben Clarke

By Ben Clarke

Staff Writer, hick for life, two cylinders max