BMW announces active cruise control system

BMW says it’s about to offer active cruise control technology on its motorcycles—but it doesn’t tell us which bikes will get it, or how soon it will happen.

Active cruise control is a safety system that functions as a sort of autopilot. When it’s engaged, the vehicle using the technology uses artificial intelligence to maintain its distance from the vehicle it’s following. Active cruise control means you’re less likely to rear-end someone while riding, and it also means bumper-to-bumper gridlock is slightly less miserable. 

Under BMW’s active cruise control system, the riding speed can be pre-set, as well as the minimum distance to the vehicle in front. The current system has three different selections for following distance, which makes sense; obviously, you want more following distance on a superhighway than you do in stop-and-go city traffic. BMW’s design also has two different selectable control settings—it can be configured for comfortable or dynamic riding, with acceleration and deceleration adjusted to match. Riders can also disable the active cruise control and use BMW’s old-school “Dynamic Cruise Control” system.

BMW’s active cruise control system will automatically reduce speeds for cornering, and BMW says it’s aiming for “a comfortable lean angle.” Don’t set the cruise control super-fast, and expect it to take you through the Tail of the Dragon at top speed. BMW’s press release is vary clear that the cruise control system is “a rider assistance system that leaves the responsibility with the rider and allows him to intervene at all times.” Also, the system is only configured to work around moving vehicles–it doesn’t factor in stationary vehicles, and the rider must brake when approaching a stopped car.

BMW is developing this system with aftermarket manufacturer Bosch. That’s good news, as Bosch has already worked on just about every other safety system (ABS, leaning ABS, traction control), and if anyone can get this right, it’s Bosch.

There’s no firm arrival date for this technology, and BMW doesn’t say which bikes will have this feature.

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