Radar technology is still in it’s infancy in the motorcycle world. We’ve seen it in a few models, like the latest KTM Super Adventure and Ducati Multistrada, but it hasn’t really taken off yet. I’m sure it will eventually, though. And it would seem Piaggio also think it’s ‘the future’. Because just this morning I received a press release from Piaggio Fast Forward (PFF), part of the Piaggio Group. It was all about their super-duper, all-new, 4D imaging, radar-based motorcycle safety platform.
And if you think that’s a mouthful, you should have seen the press release. It was heavy going, and top-heavy with far too many really long, technical sounding words. And to be honest, it was more about how their ‘trailblazing’ sensor technology is going to change the consumer and business robot ‘landscape’; which if I’m being honest, made very, very boring reading.
Eventually, I picked the bones out of it and worked out why it’d landed in my inbox. That’s when it all started to make a bit more sense. I think what the press release was trying to tell me, is that we’ll be seeing these new radar systems on Piaggio Group bikes in 2022. And remember that’s not just bikes with a Piaggio badge on them. The Piaggio Group own the Aprilia, Vespa, Moto Guzzi, Gilera, Derbi, Ape, and Piaggio Commercial brands, too. That’s a lot of motorcycles, and even more scooters.
Radar for all?
So does this mean that rather than radar technology being the reserve of the high end motorcycle, from 2022, we’ll be seeing it on smaller, slower, less expensive bikes? Does it mean we’ll be seeing it on scooters? Possibly. Or will it only be the top spec Aprilia Tuono that benefits from the latest elec-trickery. And it is trick.
Because as well as the much-discussed ‘adaptive cruise control’ that radar tech enables, it allows manufacturers to incorporate things like ‘blind spot detection’, ‘lane change assist’ and ‘front collision warning’ systems into their models. Which, you could argue, is as much about safety as it is about convenience.
If that is the case, I don’t know why they couldn’t just come straight out and say it. I don’t know why they had to weave the information into a long, boring and hard to read release about robotic sensors. But I suppose that’s where a lot of the tech originates. 99% of the technology on a modern motorcycle hasn’t been invented for motorcycles. It’s been invented for something else (like robots), and the bike industry’s pinched it and put it to good use.
So, if in six months’ time, the price of a Vespa, or an Aprilia, has gone up by 20% because it’s got all sorts of space-age gadgetry hanging off it (all in the name of safety, obviously), don’t be surprised. You heard it here first.