Do you remember Piaggio’s Gita, the autonomous robot developed by Piaggio subsidiary Piaggio Fast Forward? It can carry up to 40 pounds, and is basically meant to follow you around and hold onto your stuff. What do robots have to do with motorcycles, exactly? More than you might expect—and don’t worry, this doesn’t have anything to do with self-riding motorbikes (yet, anyway).
The Piaggio Group is best known for the motorcycles and scooters that it makes. Vespa, Aprilia, Moto Guzzi, and Piaggio badges adorn a wide range of motorbikes that riders around the world hold very dear. As it looks toward the future, PFF has been hard at work developing a radar sensor module for use in both Piaggio’s motorbike range and Piaggio Fast Forward’s robots.
With the help of Vayyar Imaging, PFF says that it’s ready to deploy “the industry’s first-ever 4D imaging radar-based motorcycle safety platform.” This technology will form the backbone of the Piaggio Group’s Advanced Rider Assistance Systems (ARAS) across Piaggio Group motorbikes.
The Piaggio ARAS system will include multiple functions, including Blind Spot Detection, Lane Change Assist, and Forward Collision Warning. According to PFF, the sensor supports a range of over 100 meters (or just over 328 feet), as well as an ultra-wide field of view. Additional claims include that this tech has no dead zones, and also has the ability to detect and track multiple targets. A complete picture of how many targets it can track at once is unclear as of August 5, 2021, but hopefully more details will become available in the future.
“PFF is creating advanced technology products for robots and motorcycles that detect and measure objects in our surroundings to provide the information we need for mapping, object detection, and control, regardless of lighting, weather and other environmental factors. We have chosen to develop our sensing applications with Vayyar’s 4D imaging radar technology. We are excited to work with such a professional, passionate team, to develop innovative new solutions that provide our customers with a better product experience,” said Piaggio Fast Forward CEO Greg Lynn in a statement.
“We’re very excited to partner with PFF, who are at the forefront of sensor technology, both in terms of harmonization with rider experience on two- and three-wheeled products, as well as application in their innovative robots,” Vayyar Imaging director of business development Ilan Hayat said in a statement.
“Motorcycle riders are among the most vulnerable road users, and this is a big step forward in reducing their risk of collision. Regardless of vehicle type, rider safety should not be compromised, and by partnering with PFF we are thrilled to deliver an automotive standard of safety to motorcycles,” Hayat concluded.
As of August 5, 2021, Piaggio’s ARAS technology is scheduled to appear in Piaggio Fast Forward robots by the end of 2021. Deployment of the module in Piaggio Group motorbike models will follow in 2022. More specific details are not available yet, but will hopefully emerge in the coming months.