For years, advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) have gradually become a normal and expected thing in modern cars and other four-wheeled vehicles. In the past few years, they’ve also made greater inroads into the two-wheeled world, in the form of things like radar-assisted cruise control and blind spot detection systems on flagship adventure and sport touring machines.
From Ducati to BMW to Yamaha, OEMs are working with established companies like Bosch and Continental. They’re working not only on the systems themselves, but also figuring out how they want to solve certain problems with where these components should be located.
In September 2022, the Chinese Patent Office published a patent application that had been filed earlier in the year by the major Taiwanese OEM, Kymco. While the company is best known for its scooters, it does also make some motorcycles and has also been venturing into electric motorcycle and scooter development in recent years.
This radar-related patent from Kymco involves the placement of its rear-facing radar unit on several potential motorbike designs, and that’s where things start to get interesting. There are multiple angles of the tail of a scooter, as you’d expect. However, a couple of other possible tail-mounted radar sensor configuration drawings also appear in this application. One looks very much as though it could be a café racer design, while the other looks more like some type of adventure bike.
In the case of all these drawings, Kymco’s stated purposes remain the same. For one thing, the unit should ideally be protected from the weather and circumstances that might obstruct its ability to do its job, such as rain, mud, and snow. Keeping it tucked away in between the taillight unit and the license plate unit and set back behind both of them so that they both offer some shelter from the elements is one important design facet.
For another thing, there’s also the issue of potential theft. By carefully mounting the radar unit so that it’s fully integrated into the rear portion of the motorbike, Kymco hopes to deter potential thieves from absconding with the radar units easily. Obviously, 100 percent theft deterrence is next to impossible, but making things just a little more difficult can hopefully dissuade thieves that would rather look for easier targets.
Now, back to those different tail and radar sensor configurations depicted in Kymco’s patent drawings. It’s clear that Kymco, like all major OEMs, is thinking multiple steps ahead when it comes to future motorbike models. However, if you’ll indulge us in a moment of wild speculation, do you happen to recall that Kymco has partnered with LiveWire for the manufacture of its eventual S3 lightweight electric motorbikes?
While we don’t have an exact timeline for those yet—and indeed, the S2 Del Mar middleweights are just starting to roll out to customers in the US and Europe now—wouldn't it be interesting if one or both of those two previously unseen tails will be part of an upcoming LiveWire?
As we said before and will say again, that is purely speculation on our part, and we have no evidence to confirm or deny that this is the case. What we have is the fact that Kymco filed this patent, with those drawings—and also the fact that Kymco is partnering with LiveWire on those future lightweight electric motorbikes that are primarily intended for Asian markets.
Furthermore, we have the fact that humans like to connect the dots to make pretty pictures, even in cases where there aren’t very many dots to connect just yet and we’re probably only seeing what we want to see. Thoughts? Speculations of your own? Share with us in the comments?