Ducati is making an interesting announcement today, boasting that it will bring front and rear radar technology to its motorcycles by the year 2020.
Using radar technology developed with the Politecnico di Milano University, Ducati will use radar not only to detect vehicles in the motorcycle’s blind spot, but also to detect the flow of traffic ahead of the motorcycle, and use that information for an adaptive cruise control system.
Ducati plans a number of other rider alerts as well, with the fore and aft radar units, which will help riders know when there is a fast-approaching vehicle coming from the rear, when there is a risk of head-on collision in front of the motorcycle, and so forth.
This news is part of a larger movement by Ducati, called “Safety Road Map 2025”, which aims to bring additional safety features to the Italian brand’s range of motorcycles over the next several model years.
For motorcyclists, Ducati is clearly trying to carve out a niche for itself in the public perception of safety. This could pay dividends for Ducati, with the perceived danger of motorcycles being a large factor that keeps potential riders away from the two-wheeled lifestyle.
By mitigating some of the dangers that come with riding a motorcycle, Ducati could change its brand image, and position itself as the “safer” alternative to an industry full of “murdercycles”.
In the car world, we have seen similar plays made with success, most notably with the Swedish brand Volvo, which for a long time was the family vehicle of choice because of its crash ratings and safety features.
To that vein, Ducati says that it will bring cornering ABS to every motorcycle in its range, which should already set the Italian brand apart from its competitors, while also adding a very effective technology to its products.
With the car world already developing some interesting technology to help automate cars and make them safer, it will be interesting to see if Ducati adapts the same ideas to motorcycles — like with assistive emergency braking, for example.
Having a pipeline for technology like this is surely the benefit of having an automobile conglomerate as your corporate overlords, though we once again have to speculate how long Ducati will remain part of the Volkswagen Group.