Honda has already developed a motorcycle prototype that self-balances, but it now looks like they are working on cruise control that not only includes automatic acceleration and braking, but also steering assistance.
It’s not designed to take all the fun out of riding, but as a back-up safety net and convenience for touring riders. And it’s short of the robotic self-riding motorcycles that BMW and Yamaha have been developing.
The Ducati system uses automatic throttle to keep a safe rider-determined distance from the vehicle in front while the BMW system adds braking to prevent the bike picking up speed going downhill. That’s handy since many radar traps are illegally positioned at the bottom of hills.
Honda’s system goes further, including steering assistance to keep the rider from straying out of their lane.
It’s similar to many modern cars that now feature adaptive cruise control as well as lane departure control.
If you’ve used lane departure control in a car, you’ll find it assists with steering rather than taking over.
For example, if you take your hands off the steering wheel for more than a few seconds, it sounds an alarm and disconnects the assistance until you put your hands back on the wheel.
We would expect something similar with Honda’s motorcycle system which should show up first on the Goldwing.
This is one of a blitz of patent applications by Honda over the past couple of years.
Some are quite weird and impractical, but others may actually make it to market.
We suspect Honda is just trying to dominate intellectual property on motorcycle inventions, rather than planning to put them all into production.
However, we expect adaptive cruise is certainly destined for future touring models.
The patents include: