Adaptive cruise control does not always detect motorcyclists

Adaptive Cruise Control

Published on 27 March 2018 by Robert Drane

Research by Netherlands Vehicle Authority RDW has shown that adaptive cruise control (ACC) systems do not always detect motorcyclists.

The study was conducted in response to concerns raised by the Federation of European Motorcyclists (FEMA, of which the BMF is a prominent member) and Dutch riding groups KNMV and MAG NL. The results demonstrated that, while motorcyclists are usually detected by systems like ACC, they do not always see and react to riders that are on the edge of the driving lane.

In RDW’s report, it explained: “Over the course of six separate test days, it was observed that the ACC systems … detect motorcycles worse than cars when the motorcyclist is riding more than 1.2m from the centreline of the vehicle/lane.”

Dolf Willigers, FEMA’s General Secretary, said: “This report shows that our worries about the visibility of motorcyclists by advanced driver assistance systems are justified.

“This RDW report proves to us that advanced driver assistance systems are in no way ready to be trusted. Both car drivers and motorcyclists should be made aware of this.”

Better testing required

Some vehicle manufacturers include warnings about the limitations of these technologies within car manuals. For example, the Volvo XC60 2017 manual states that: “Adaptive Cruise Control does not react to people or animals, or small vehicles such as bicycles and motorcycles. It also does not react to slow moving, parked or approaching vehicles, or stationary objects.”

However, Dolf explains that such warnings aren’t enough:

“A written warning in a car manual is not enough. These assistance systems have to be tested properly and this should be part of the Type Approval test procedure for cars. A car with systems that fail this test procedure, should not be allowed on public roads.”

You can read RDW’s research report on the FEMA website.

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Main photo by Nozilla (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons