Cruise control isn’t a new term in terms of motorcycling. But now the game has changed. BMW Motorrad has introduced the Active Cruise Control (ACC) which is a new child in the family of Rider Assistance System, which already had Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Dynamic Traction Control (DTC), cornering ABS and few other technology.
The new ACC is the first instance wherein information about surrounding traffic situation is being used to enhance rider safety.
What is cruise control?
Cruise control system is kind of like an auto-pilot, sans, it can’t manoeuvre the car or bike. It can only keep the automobile running at a constant speed. Cruise control takes over the throttle of the vehicle to maintain a steady speed as specified by the rider. This is very useful on highways, where you just have to go straight at a constant speed, you can just cruise along.
How a cruise control works?
You speed up the vehicle to a desired speed and push a button that activates the cruise control. Now, cruise control mechanism uses sensors to determine the current speed of the motorcycle and sends the data to the computer. The data is then sent to ride-by-wire systems. Ride-by-wire system controls the fuel-air supply to the engine to maintain the speed specified by the rider.
Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC)
Adjusting your speed according to the traffic in front requires a great deal of concentration from the rider and is strenuous over long periods.
With the Active Cruise Control (ACC), BMW Motorrad will soon offer relaxed cruising without having to manually adapt to the driving speed of the vehicle in front, thus providing motorcyclists with a completely new, comfortable riding experience.
The rider has to set the cruising speed and the minimum safe distance to the vehicle in front. Pressing the Set/Res button sets the current riding speed as the cruising speed in the ACC control. By pressing the button again forwards the set speed can be increased. A short press increases the set speed by 1 mph. A long press of the button increases the set speed by 5 mph.
If the rider keeps the button pressed, the set speed is increased in steps of 5 mph until the button is released. Pressing the Set/Res button to the rear reduces the set speed in the same way. The individual settings are displayed on the TFT instrument cluster.
The bike continues to move in the specified cruising speed as long as the minimum distance entered is maintained. If the gap falls short, the radar detects it and sends commands to the engine control system and braking systems to decelerate, till the required gap is achieved. If the radar doesn’t detect any moving object in the specified distance, it can tell the engine control system to accelerate.
The rider retains responsibility at all times and is able to intervene independently. That is also because the ACC only reacts to moving vehicles. Stationary vehicles are ignored. The rider can intervene by twisting the throttle, or twisting it past the zero point. Applying clutch disengages ACC by 1.5 seconds.
Objects driving in front are detected by the radar sensor at the front of the
motorcycle. If an object is detected in the vehicle path, the distance controller in the radar sensor sends a target acceleration, via the CAN bus
Speed control, Distance control and Cornering control
The speed control system handles the cruising speed.
The distance control system handles the minimum specified distance.The distance control can be deactivated by the rider, in that case the speed will be maintained regardless of the traffic ahead.
The cornering control system is used during cornering. If necessary, the speed of the vehicle is reduced according to the lean angle.
The ACC features two control characteristics: “comfortable” and “dynamic”. They affect the acceleration and deceleration behaviour of the motorcycle during control by ACC. Comfortable means, well balanced acceleration and deceleration. Whereas dynamic offers noticeably more sudden acceleration.
The distance adjustment in ACC mode can be done individually in three stages using the distance button. Distance 1: Short distance. Distance 2: Medium distance. Distance 3: Long distance.
Problem due to Environmental Factors
All rider assistance systems are generally subject to certain system limits.They work within certain boundary conditions optimally, reliably and safely.
However, none of these systems relieves the motorcyclist of personal responsibility. Correct object detection by the radar sensor is subject to environmental influences, for example, and can be restricted by heavy rain, snow or dense fog. The range of the radar is also limited, meaning that not all possible approach situations can be detected
Today, the topic of safety, along with a high degree of convenience, takes the highest priority in motorcycling.
BMW Motorrad rider assistance systems relieve the rider when driving, provide additional comfort and, last but not least, increase safety. But above all, they keep your head clear for carefree motorcycle riding pleasure.