Cruise control is a pretty simple technology, or so you’d think, especially when you’ve got throttle-by-wire: program the bike’s electronics to keep the bike at a certain speed, and away you go.
But now, Harley-Davidson is taking things further, with multiple reports of a new group-based cruise control system from the MoCo. Currently, it’s at the patent stage.
The idea is that the new system would use a sensor array to determine an appropriate speed and following distance between a motorcycle and the vehicle in front of it. In the current form of the design, the control system would use data provided by radar, lidar and cameras to determine safe lane position and speed.
Ducati has also been working on similar technology lately, and is reportedly introducing it on 2020 models. But while Ducati’s system is designed to make it easier to navigate bumper-to-bumper gridlock, the Harley-Davidson system is reportedly configured to allow the rider to set a specific motorcycle to follow, to allow structured group riding.
While this might not be appealing to most motorcyclists, Harley-Davidson owners are stereotyped as liking processional group rides. For those sorts of riders, this technology would take some of the monotony out of the process.
This sort of thing would have been considered both nonsensical and prohibitively expensive in years gone by. Now, with the rise of smart vehicle technology, it’s much more affordable to include these sorts of systems on a motorcycle, especially on luxury bikes where the riders may not enjoy the block-after-block fiddling with clutch, throttle and brake to get their parade formation right.