You are driving down a road with questionable conditions, and as you round a bend, you see a minefield of gravel the path of your motorcycle.
For anyone who has ridden the backroads of America, this scenario should be one that is familiar, and while a certain amount of rider skill can navigate you to safety, if you hit a gravel patch while leaned-over, the physics simply aren’t on the side of the motorcycle.
According to the CNET though, the folks at Bosch want to change that, and it seems that Bosch has a novel concept in the works – straight from NASA and the space program. The idea is both simple and complex. It is compressed gas thrusters.
The concept is simple, in the sense that when the motorcycle detects that there is a lateral slide of the motorcycle – like the type you would encounter going over a patch of gravel while leaned over – the motorcycle deploys a compressed gas thruster to counter the lateral sliding force.
Of course, measuring that slide and applying the correct amount of force is the tougher challenge, so it is a good thing that Bosch has spent the better half of the last decade developing inertial measurement units for motorcycles that precisely make these precise calculations.
Aside from a test video (below), there isn’t too much information about Bosch’s plans…if the German company even plans to commercialize this concept.
The thought is an interesting one though, and while advances in technology like cornering ABS and traction control have done a considerable amount to increase the safety of motorcycles, they can only do so much.
In the case of Bosch’s thrusters, the technology would compliment cornering ABS extremely well.
While IMU-enabled brakes can do a lot to reduce a motorcycle’s chances of losing traction on mixed road conditions, once the front wheel begins to lose traction and slide, there is only so much that the braking technology can do to avoid a crash. This where the thrusters come into play.
Counteracting the sliding action from the tire losing grip on the road surface, Bosch’s thruster system helps keep the motorcycle tire inline, until it regains traction.
We have already seen the increasing trend of motorcycles accounting for a larger percentage of the total on-road vehicle fatalities – a trend that could spell the end of the motorcycle industry as we know it.
Reducing the risk of a motorcycle crashing because of road conditions could be an important step in keeping the motorcycle industry alive, along with its riders.