Loaded with the latest in motorcycle electronics, the 2021 Ducati Multistrada V4S, recently launched in Malaysia and priced at RM146,900, is perhaps the safest motorcycle you can get in terms of riding aids. Development of motorcycle radar by Ducati started back in 2016 with research conducted by the Department of Electronics, Information and Bioengineering of the Politecnico di Milano, resulting in a patent application filed in 2017.
Fast forward to 2021 and the Multistrada V4S is the world’s first production motorcycle equipped with a radar system designed to increase margins of safety for the rider. Developed in conjunction with automotive electronics specialists Bosch, the Ducati radar system enables adaptive cruise control and blind spot warning for the Multistrada V4S.
The system itself consists of a forward and rear looking radar modules, located under the headlights and taillights, respectively. Ducati says the system is specifically designed for motorcycles and each radar module measures 70 x 60 x 28 mm, about the size of an action camera, and adds only 190 grams to the Multistrada V4’s overall weight.
For the forward radar, when the adaptive cruise control function is enabled, the system automatically adjusts distance to the vehicle in front via controlled braking and acceleration. There are four levels of distance keeping available for the Multistrada V4’s adaptive cruise control and is functional at speeds between 30 to 160 km/h.
From a safety point of view, the blind spot warning system detects vehicles located in the rider’s blind spot, in the areas not covered by the rear view mirrors. If the presence of a vehicle is detected in the blind spot, a visual warning is sent to the rider via Led indicators located in the mirrors.
Such sophisticated motorcycle safety systems require proper setup and calibration and Ducati has made it a requirement that any Ducati dealer in Malaysia wanting to sell the Multistrada V4S equipped with the radar system has to have a calibration rig along with trained technical personnel on site.
The calibration rig is deceptively simple, consisting of a pair of stands, a laser sight, levelling gauge and mirror, plus the calibration module and laptop loaded with the necessary Ducati software. Cost for the system is approximately RM30,000, including training for the technician.
After levelling the Multistrada V4 in the rig, the software determines the parameters of the system and makes any necessary adjustments. Parameters are preset by the factory and also include things like braking force and throttle control for the adaptive cruise control.