Bosch proposes jet-powered slide control


Want an onboard radar system that provides “smart” cruise control and an early crash warning system? Or a gas thruster that stabilizes your motorcycle in a slide? Or a motorcycle-to-car comm system that prevents crashes? Bosch is working on all this, and more.

Bosch has long been one of the companies behind major motorcycle safety developments, and they’ve decided to share some information about the systems they’re working on now.

Perhaps the wildest innovation is their “sliding mitigation research project.” This is an anti-lowside system which uses gas thrusters to exert downward force to keep your motorcycle upright in a near-crash scenario. According to the Bosch press release:

“Like a magic hand, it keeps the motorcycle on track and considerably reduces the risk of a fall. A sensor detects sideways wheel slip. If a certain value is exceeded, gas is released from a gas accumulator of the type used in passenger-car airbags. The gas flows into the tank adapter and is vented in a certain direction through a nozzle. This reverse thrust keeps the motorcycle on track.”

It’s an idea that’s crazy, but intriguing. Racing usage seems unlikely, as it would possibly be unsafe for other competitors, but it’s something we could see included on touring bikes maybe?

Bosch’s other projects are a little more conventional, using tech that we’ve seen before. Bosch is working on radar-based adaptive cruise control, which will adjust the motorcycle’s speed to maintain safe distances in heavy traffic without strenuous concentration; theoretically, this is supposed to not only make life easier but reduce rear-ending accidents. The radar will also enable a collision warning system similar to what’s seen in cars; if another vehicle is dangerously close to a motorcycle, the collision warning system will flash a light or make a noise to alert the rider.

Of course, that’s very similar to a blind spot warning system, and Bosch is working on that as well. Similar systems are already available in other markets (BMW’s C650 GT scooter has it in Europe).

Another safety system Bosch is working on is a vehicle-to-vehicle communication system, which will allow motorcycles to communicate with the onboard safety systems in cars. The idea here is that if a car plans to pull a left-hand turn at a light, for instance, the driver will be warned of a motorcyclist in the way. These systems have been under development by various manufacturers for years, but the tech is still in its infancy, so it’s good to see Bosch is one of the companies working on it, as it has a long track record of success with safety innovation, being one of the earliest companies behind motorcycle ABS and stability control systems (speaking of which—Bosch says it’s still working on updates to those technologies as well).

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