Piaggio joins the radar revolution
Radar was one of the key new technologies to appear on bikes in 2021 - showing up on the Ducati Multistrada V4, BMW R1250RT and R1800, KTM 1290 Super Adventure S and the Kawasaki Ninja H2 SX. Now it's set to appear on lower-cost models, even scooters, with Piaggio in collaboration with Israeli company Vayyar.
All the initial radar systems used by BMW, Ducati, KTM and Kawasaki have come from Bosch and are derived from car-mounted radar sensors. Triumph has also launched a radar-equipped model for 2022 in the form of the new Tiger 1200, albeit with a rear-facing sensor only, supplied by Continental.
Piaggio's deal with Vayyar promises something quite different, as Vayyar's radar is a so-called '4D' system that uses far more sensors than rival designs. Its radar-on-a-chip makes for a very compact radar unit, with a longer range than the rival Bosch system and, with many more antennae, it also has a wider field of view and the ability to keep tabs on a greater number of 'targets' in the form of other vehicles or roadside objects.
By monitoring these object's radar reflections and using the Doppler effect, it also works out their direction and speed of travel, helping to build a picture of its surroundings. The wide field of view also means that two radars - one front, one rear - will give nearly 360 degrees of sensor coverage. On the downside, the Vayyar system isn't a proven design with years of development and manufacturing behind it like the Bosch set-up, favoured by the early adopters so far.
Piaggio hopes that the system will be cheap and compact enough to make it viable to use on small, low-cost bikes like scooters, rather than reserving it for high-end models, with the first vehicles fitted with the set-up due to be launched before the end of 2022.