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Autonomous technology could make motorcycles safer

Motorcyclists around the country are killed 28 times more often than passenger vehicle occupants according to figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Automobile parts suppliers and technology companies are working to make motorcycles safer, and some of the autonomous electronic systems that many of the latest cars, pickup trucks and SUVs are equipped with may soon be available for Louisiana residents who prefer to travel on two wheels instead of four.

German parts manufacturer Bosch has announced that it is adapting driver-assistance systems like adaptive cruise control for use on motorcycles, and similar systems are being developed by the technology startups Damon X Labs and Ride Vision. Business journals have reported that the Israel-based Ride Vision has already secured more than $2 million in funding to develop inexpensive autonomous motorcycle systems that use forward and rear-facing cameras to provide 360 degree coverage.

Adaptive cruise control systems adjust vehicle speeds automatically to maintain safe distances, and the technology being developed by Ride Vision alerts riders about approaching vehicles with lights fitted to their rear view mirrors. These autonomous systems will likely be less expensive than the self-driving technology available to passenger vehicle buyers because motorcycles are generally only used when weather conditions are favorable. This means that expensive technology designed to work flawlessly in snow and rain, such as radar and LIDAR arrays, may not be necessary. It may also be possible for riders to retrofit their machines with these features.

While any advances in motorcycle safety systems should be welcomed, even the most sophisticated technology can do little to prevent collisions caused by drivers making unexpected left turns directly in front of riders. When riders are injured or killed in such accidents, experienced personal injury attorneys may initiate litigation to hold the negligent motorists involved financially responsible.

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