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Will your motorcycle be fitted with an air jet in the future?

If technology was available to make riding your motorcycle safer, would you invest in it? That's what one auto industry supplier is banking on.

The company, Bosch, is working on a project involving air jets on motorcycles. While it is still at the experimental stage, it's a promising development that could potentially save motorcycle riders' lives.

What does the new anti-slide technology do?

When a motorcycle starts to go into a sideways slide, which frequently happens during rainy weather or when there is gravel or other debris on the road, it is very difficult for the motorcyclist to keep the bike upright. The new technology senses when a motorcycle's tires begin to slip and releases a jet of air that helps the rider to return to an upright position.

Here's how it works

The "sliding mitigation research project" includes a sensor that detects a slip. At a predetermined threshold, pressurized gas is released from an accumulator much the same way as auto airbags deploy in the second before a collision.

Air jets on the opposite side of the bike's lean give the bike a reverse thrust to counteract the skid by accelerating it forward. This offers sufficient force that, at least theoretically, will allow the rider to keep control of the motorcycle. 

Sounds like a solid plan, right? However, much like a car's airbag, the air jet can only deploy a single time and Bosch hasn't offered a plan for replacing deployed air jets.

What else is in the pipeline?

Bosch has a strong commitment to furthering motorcycle safety. The company is also exploring additional safety and convenience features to develop in the future, including:

  • Collision warning systems
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Blind-spot recognition
  • Air conditioning

Another future project still on the drawing board is a communication system between motorcycles and automobiles. The hope is to devise a system where motorcycles can communicate with passenger vehicles to warn of their approach before they are in the driver's line of sight.

This technology — M2C — could be expanded to include the type and speed of a vehicle, its direction of travel and position on the road.

Motorcycle safety is everyone's responsibility

These safety features may one day be standard issue for motorcycles. Even so, riders and motorists must do all they can to follow the rules of the road and remain aware of one another on the California highways and byways.

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