14 May 2016

Emergency stop signal lighting and bank-sensing ABS

Emergency stop signal (ESS) lighting systems have been around for a while on (generally luxury) cars in Europe for some time now—during emergency braking, equipped BMWs use flashing or ‘growing’ brake lights (displaying more LED segments) on their cars, Volvo uses brake lights which glow brighter, Mercedes-Benz use flashing brake lights, and VW Group activates the hazard lights along with the brake lights. The idea is to grab the attention of drivers in following vehicles and enable them to recognise emergency braking situations.

The motorcycle market tends to be slow to keep up with safety innovations—BMW started offering ABS brakes on models in 1988 as an option on certain models with Honda and Yamaha following in 1992. In 2013 BMW made ABS standard on all bikes in their range, the first (and I believe only) manufacturer to date to do so. This has changed (in Europe) now, however, with EU legislation mandating standard ABS on all bikes over 125cc from the 2016 model year.

But while some manufacturers are scrambling to update models never designed to accommodate ABS in order to meet this new legislation, others have been innovating—namely KTM in partnership with Bosch launching the first bank-sensing ABS system in 2013, which takes into account how much the bike is leaning and modulates the ABS to prevent sudden stand-up (potentially resulting in the rider going straight and off the road) or low-sides (where the bike comes out from under the rider) when braking hard in corners. BMW released their version for the S1000RR sport bike the following year, using the same hardware but with their own software. As of the 2016 model year, this system is available on six different models in their range including the R1200GS, and somewhat predictably named ABS Pro (BMW loves to call everything Pro, Dynamic or Active, after all)—ABS Pro also features ESS lighting.

A step in the right direction for sure, but now let’s get the Connected Ride system, laser light technology and heads-up display helmet on the market!

I missed the press release from last July, which has a full description of the system. A video follows.

BMW Motorrad introduces dynamic brake light. Achieving an even higher level of safety by improving brake light warning function. ABS Pro incl. dynamic brake light available for six models from model year 2016.

3 Jul 2015 Press Release  

Munich. Braking and being seen by the traffic behind is of essential importance for motorcycle riders. That is why BMW Motorrad has developed the dynamic brake light as a component of the Strategy “Safety 360°”. It can warn drivers of following vehicles even better about when the motorcycle in front of them is braking.

This additional brake light function, which is still limited to the EU/ECE area, warns following traffic in two stages when the motorcycle in front brakes hard or makes an emergency braking manoeuvre. Stage one is activated when the motorcycle decelerates from speeds above 50 km/h. In this case the brake light flashes with a frequency of 5 Hz. As the motorcycle approaches standstill (<14 km/h), the hazard warning flashers are also turned on in the second stage. These remain turned on until the motorcycle accelerates again to a minimum speed of 20 km/h.

ABS Pro incl. dynamic brake light available for six models from model year 2016.

The dynamic brake light is available as an option ex works in conjunction with ABS Pro (in conjunction with the option “Ride Modes Pro”) from model year 2016 for the models R 1200 GS, R 1200 GS Adventure and S 1000 XR. The K 1600 GT, GTL and GTL Exclusive luxury tourers will feature this safety feature as standard from model year 2016 - as the ideal supplement to ABS Pro.

Compared to conventional ABS, ABS Pro goes a step further offering increased safety when braking in bends by allowing ABS-supported braking when banking. Here, ABS Pro prevents the wheels from locking even when the brakes are applied quickly; this reduces abrupt changes in steering force on shock-braking manoeuvres and stops the motorcycle from rearing up unintentionally. The benefits of ABS Pro to the rider are a sensitive response and a high level of brake and ride stability together with the best possible deceleration on bends.

- ends -

See the system in action: