Here’s something interesting coming down the road: It seems Honda is working on adaptive cruise control for the Africa Twin adventure bike.
Unlike standard cruise control, which keeps a vehicle at a constant speed, adaptive cruise control also keeps a vehicle at a constant distance from traffic ahead, maintaining a safe following distance to avoid crashes. Most motorcycle manufacturers are working on some variation of this system, and BMW, Ducati, and KTM have already introduced it as an option on high-end touring or adventure touring machines. Moto-electronics manufacturer Bosch has been perfecting adaptive cruise control technology for years, and motorcycle manufacturers are incorporating Bosch’s technology into their bikes.
It’s unclear whether Honda’s working on its own system, or adapting Bosch’s design. Whichever it is, BikeSocial has published patent drawings of a Honda Africa Twin fitted with front- and rear-facing radar, implying not just an adaptive cruise control system, but also a rear collision detection system. The rear-facing radar could also potentially scan to the side, detecting danger on either side of the bike. There’s also a camera sensor, which would theoretically add new capabilities to the system, and depending how it’s configured, potentially even offer some sort of lane assist (which has been available on some Euro-market machines, with very low-level function, for years now).
It’s almost a certainty that Honda will go ahead with this design, in some format; if everyone else has adaptive cruise control, Honda will need to incorporate it, to stay relevant. Most likely it will be an option on the Africa Twin, and also the Gold Wing, as there have been patent drawings showing the ‘Wing with similar tech.
The BikeSocial article also points out there’s another just-released Honda patent showing Big Red working on a vehicle-to-vehicle communication system. This is all very hot stuff right now; BMW’s working on similar systems for its top-of-the-line tourers. These systems use a combination of cameras, radar and other sensors to detect the location of surrounding vehicles on the road. A vehicle’s built-in AI can then be programmed to avoid crashes. Very sci-fi stuff, or at least it was not long ago; now, it’s just the next frontier in transportation technology.