Manufacturer News and Motorcycle Laws

Harley Davidson files Patent for new cruise control technology This system combined with the autonomous braking system the manufacturer patented last year to provide a well-rounded technology

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By: Sabrina Giacomini

Cruise control is a fairly new addition to the flock of technologies and assists trickling down from the automotive industry into the motorcycle one. It is becoming increasingly widespread, especially on touring-oriented models. Brands such as KTM, Ducati and even Bosch are even planning to add an “adaptive” element to their system in upcoming years. It looks like Harley-Davidson is also looking into an adaptive cruise control system—one that would detect more than one vehicle in the same lane. Lane share much?

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Adaptive cruise control in cars is a pretty straightforward system: it adjusts the speed of the vehicle in order to maintain a certain distance with the vehicle located at the front. That distance varies from longer to shorter, depending on the settings selected by the driver. On motorcycles, while cruise control alone is gaining in popularity, adaptive cruise control hasn’t found a two-wheel application quite yet.

A number of companies are already working on it, and Harley-Davidson seemingly just added its name to that list. A patent published on August 15 shows that the Milwaukee brand is developing a cruise control system that not only detects a vehicle ahead, but can also detect when there is more than one vehicle in the same lane, like in a group riding situation.

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According to the early concept, the system should even be able to distinguish between a car and a motorcycle, based on its position within the lane (center, left, or right) and even allow the rider to pick a vehicle to adapt the speed to. The system will seemingly indicate on the display when it detects a vehicle in the lane, for instance two motorcycles riding ahead. It will then give the rider the option to “lock” onto one of them—that’s the vehicle the adaptive cruise control will “interact” with.

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This system could easily be combined with the autonomous braking system the manufacturer patented last year to provide a well-rounded technology. While the other companies are seemingly working on developing a more straightforward adaptive feature, Harley knows its demographic well and is taking things a step further. Harlistas are often spotted riding in groups, so developing a technology that caters to that behavior makes perfect sense.

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