BMW Patent – Motorcycles learn to read the road

As patent applications reveal, BMW is working on a system that is intended to expand traction control.

The traction control system reacts to a loss of grip and controls the throttle valves if a loss of grip is detected. The corresponding systems from the various manufacturers have proven themselves and work really well. But they also have a common problem, they all react only when a certain loss of grip is registered.

 

ProActive traction control

BWM wants to extend the traction control and want to make sure that it not only reacts, it acts in advance.  Several cameras monitor the road in front of the motorcycle to assess the characteristics of the ground. The system is intended to produce a real-time 3D image of the road surface to detect how rough the asphalt is in order to optimally adjust the traction control and ABS to the road conditions in advance.

The system compares the 3D images in real time with surfaces in the database, which allows the existing grip to be interpreted. The system should be capable of learning and continue to gain “experience” during each journey.

Acoustic sensors are used to detect noise changes in the tire contact area. A change in the noise could indicate a loose surface and thus less grip. Tire characteristics such as tire type and tire pressure are also taken into account in the calculation.

All the data collected, together with the current speed, throttle position, engine torque, steering and lean angle or braking force, should ensure that the best possible grip is always available, whether accelerating or braking.

 

It is not yet possible to estimate how far the system has progressed, but it should offer some potential and could well find its way into series production.

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