Study: How well do modern cars recognize motorcycles?

Anyone who is on the road with a motorcycle or scooter knows this: we are fast and agile, but not necessarily clearly visible. In addition, it is more difficult to correctly estimate the speed of a single-track vehicle. Unfortunately, this often means that our speed is underestimated instead of overestimated. That’s why we support assistance systems, such as the blind spot warning system, because every now and then they prevent a collision with us.

But what if more and more helpers and assistants in the car make drivers less attentive? How reliably do the driver assistance systems really recognize motorized two-wheelers? And what does that mean for further developments in the field of autonomously driving cars? The Connected Motorcycle Consortium (CMC), consisting of motorcycle manufacturers, suppliers, researchers and interest groups, addressed these questions with a study on the “Visibility of motorized two-wheelers”.

The detection of motorized two-wheelers is taken into account in the legal requirements for steering and lane keeping systems. However, the evaluations of the tests still regularly show that the systems often react too late or not at all as soon as the vehicle is single-lane, i.e. much narrower than a car. In 96 percent of the cases, the assistance systems work correctly in other passenger cars; in the case of motorized two-wheelers, the rate is only 59 percent. If we think about tomorrow and about autonomously driving cars, trucks and buses, our chance of being overlooked seems to be almost fifty-fifty.

Connected Motorcycle Consortium (CMC)

In particular, the tests in which single-lane vehicles drive offset in front of the car or directly behind a larger vehicle clearly show that modern driver assistance systems do not always reliably recognize motorcycles.

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The CMC therefore comes to the thesis that the number of accidents between cars and motorcycles could increase again the more drivers rely on their assistance systems. The clear demand to take more and better account of motorized two-wheelers in the future development of these systems is all the more understandable.

In addition, however, the CMC also proposes increasing the visibility of motorized two-wheelers for radar systems, namely through more reflectors on the motorcycle/scooter. According to the CMC recommendation, V2X communication (vehicle-to-everything) should also move further into focus, so that cyclists, for example, are actively warned of a car. And of course the Connected Motorcycle Consortium demands that driver assistance systems be developed in such a way that they also work reliably for two-wheelers.



With regard to motorized two-wheelers, modern driver assistance systems do not yet function reliably. There is more catching up to do here than some might have thought. Especially when we talk about the frequently discussed autonomous driving. According to the CMC study on the visibility of motorized two-wheelers, the chance of a collision between a motorcyclist and an autonomously driving car is currently around 40 percent. Is that because motorcycles and scooters are not yet sufficiently considered in development or because the challenges with single-track vehicles are so great? Probably a bit of both. It is all the more important that the Connected Motorcycle Consortium is focusing on this topic with its latest study. Not only to sensitize the manufacturers, but also to explain to car, bus and truck drivers that they cannot (yet) fully rely on their assistance systems when it comes to single-track vehicles and please do not relax when it comes to paying attention.

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