Thursday, 8 August 2013

MAEB at the imminent MSF Conference - II

In this second post dedicated to the Motorcycle Safety Foundation Conference you will find a preview of the paper Can an expert rider benefit from an autonomous emergency braking system? abstracted from the introduction paragraph.
MAEB stands for Motorcycle Autonomous Emergency Braking.
Acknowledgments to authors Giovanni Savino and Jason Thompson.

Powered two wheelers (PTWs) represent a significant portion of vehicles and trends indicate that numbers are likely to grow. The attractiveness of PTWs from areas of commuting to tourism stems from their relative economy, time efficiency, convenience and fun. Troubling, however, is that riders are 10 to 40 times more likely to be involved in a severe or fatal crash per km travelled than passenger car occupants. Furthermore, as opposed to cars, the trends of crashes and fatalities among riders show little sign of declining.

Many studies in the past have tried to identify risk factors associated with common rider crashes. These have included; riding motivation; time of day; day of week; time of year, and; specific location, among others. Through identification of risk-factors, it is hoped that PTW riders become more aware of potential risk, and adapt their riding behaviours by being more attentive in certain conditions, or alternatively, undertaking skills training. Rider training is often promoted as one of the most promising means of reducing risk, notwithstanding limited scientific evidence for its efficacy.

Regardless of the potential effectiveness of reducing rider risk through greater risk awareness or skills training, crashes are still likely to occur. When they do, it can be assumed that an imbalance within the configuration of rider, their machine, the environment and/or other road users has transpired. At the very moment of collision, at least one of these factors was either uncontrolled or unable to be controlled by the operator. In such cases, something unexpected has taken place.

In reviewing crash histories, it is apparent that in a large proportion of cases, riders did not perform any braking or avoidance actions at all, prior to the event. In other cases, the reaction of riders was sub-optimal in terms of manoeuvring or appropriateness of chosen manoeuvre. Although poor riding skills feature large among the causes of reported crashes, previous studies indicate that experienced riders are far from immune to risk.

With potential collisions unavoidable for even the most experienced of riders, advanced technical solutions should be considered as potential allies whenever it can be proved that they are able to assist in otherwise unrecoverable riding situations. One such example is anti-lock braking (ABS) for motorcycles, which has demonstrated its worth in both Nordic and commuter settings.

The attraction of ABS for riders is that it provides a technological solution to a safety issue whilst also appreciating the cultural reality of riders that prevents many from adopting technologies that interfere with the riding experience. ABS is deployed only in situations of heavy, emergency braking, assisting the rider to decelerate more effectively and in a safer, shorter distance. Furthermore, after wide adoption within the automotive industry, ABS is a trusted technology not specific to PTW, enhancing likelihood of adoption.

A number of previous attempts have been made to identify and summarise effective motorcycle safety technologies. In particular, a study based on a sample of European crashes indicated autonomous emergency braking (MAEB) as one of the most effective safety interventions. Further investigations indicated that such a system should intervene only in case of a physically unavoidable collision and the autonomous decelerations must be limited to mild values.

This work tried to establish whether, and to what extent, experienced riders may benefit from autonomous emergency braking systems fitted to motorcycles.

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