In a comprehensive report of various automobile safety systems, the American Automobile Association (AAA) released intriguing findings about blindspot monitoring systems, with some thoughts as how they pertain to motorcycles.
While the driver aid systems are exactly that, systems designed to aid a driver in operating a passenger vehicle safely, AAA found that not only were drivers relying on them to heavily, in lieu of safe driving practices, but also that in certain situations the systems operated sub-optimally.
The study’s findings that pertain the most to motorcyclists are those on blindspot monitor systems, which AAA found have a hard time detecting fast-moving vehicles, and often served warnings too late for an evasive action to take place by the automobile driver.
Specifically, AAA found that motorcycles were detected by blindspot monitoring systems 26% slower than a typical passenger vehicle. AAA also found a wide-range of abilities in the systems of different manufacturers, with some systems having such a short detection range as not to be effective at all in avoiding an incident.
That conclusion is an important one as autonomous vehicles become a larger reality in the vehicle landscape, and as autonomous-like features become more standard on consumer vehicles (AAA reports that 75% of 2014 model-year vehicles offer a blindspot detection system).
One of the key issues we have been discussing here at Asphalt & Rubber is how the future motorcycles will evolve as these autonomous vehicles become more prevalent on the roadway — with a key focus on how motorcycles, as outliers to traffic patterns, can confound these systems.
The AAA’s report is perhaps the first evidence that automobile manufacturers and lawmakers need to take a closer look at how these systems operate, not only on roadways filled with other cars, but also with motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians.