BMW, Honda and Yamaha join forces in pursuit of the development and promotion of Cooperative-Intelligent Transportation Systems (C-ITS) principally designed for powered two-wheelers. Aiming at increasing safety for riders, this initiative will focus on developing ITS applications tailored to the specific requirements of motorcycles and scooters.
The new cooperation was announced on October 6 at the ITS World Congress in Bordeaux, France, under the aegis of the European Association of Motorcycle Manufacturers (ACEM). The three manufacturers will form a central coordinating unit called Connected Motorcycle Consortium and work will start immediately with a four-year primary deadline for results.
The central idea behind C-ITS is the integration of communication systems between vehicles with the purpose of creating a shared information network that will enable all road users to make coordinated and informed decisions about planning their route both safely and efficiently.
All three companies have already participated in several European tests on connected vehicle technology. BMW was a member of simTD, a large scale field test in Frankfurt, Germany, while Honda and Yamaha participated in Drive C2X, a similar project that was coordinated in Netherlands and took place in seven European countries. The expertise gathered after these tests showed that ITS systems designed for cars cannot be immediately transferred to motorcycles.
“Our companies are already active members of the Car2Car Communication Consortium, in which we work with car and truck makers and other stakeholders on common specifications and standards,” explains Mr. Takaaki Kimura, Chief General Manager of Technology Center and Executive Vice President and Representative Director of Yamaha Motor Co.Ltd.
"We came to realize that the specific requirements of motorcycles are beyond the scope of this consortium, however. The next logical step is to enter into a cooperation dedicated solely to the challenges relating to powered two-wheelers."
Motorcycles present several problems to car-devised systems. A fundamental compatibility issue arises from the sheer size of the hardware, as motorcycles rarely have enough space. The communication units have to be much more compact and also need to be water, dust and vibration-proof. Then there are software issues; compared to cars, motorcycle dynamics are different enough to require dedicated algorithms.
All ACEM members signed a Memorandum of Understanding in 2014, according to which C-ITS applications must be introduced from 2020 onwards. To this end, the members of the newly founded Connected Motorcycle Consortium extend a call to other manufacturers to joins the effort.