Suzuki has filed designs for a new warning and rider aid system that projects complex LED lights at the ground to both help the rider see what’s in front of them AND act as a bright, warning beacon to other road users.
The system projects lights to the relevant side of the bike as it’s moving to help the rider see what’s ahead when lent over and it projects the lights at the ground to illuminate braking areas ahead. it also projects lights on the ground as a massive warning set of pulsing laser-type images to warn off other vehicles that get too close. As if that’s not enough, the complex lights change their spread and area of lighting to suit speed and riding style, too.
The patents show the system fitted to a GSX-R but Suzuki’s description of the set-up says that this can be fitted to any motorcycle or scooter in the range.
The system works off two input feeds; sensors built into a bike’s internal movement registering unit – that knows how the bike is moving – deliver one set of instructions whilst the other set come from what Suzuki calls a ‘Neighbouring Vehicle State Computation Unit’ which basically constantly scans all around a motorcycle for a set distance and, if any other vehicle enters that area, it becomes active and responsive to warn the other vehicle to back off.
The first set of inputs means that any of the first three projectors (one is mounted inside the front fairing to project the LED lighting forward, there’s one projector either side of the petrol tank to take care of lights projecting left and right) react to what’s happening on the bike. The second set of inputs change the light’s mode automatically to react to the proximity of a nearby vehicle.
These front three projectors cast light on the inside of the necessary corner as the bike is leaned over in order to light up the road on the inside of the bend AND on the outside of the corner to increase visibility of the motorcycle on the move for other road users, the front projector lights up to show more of the road ahead when you hit the brakes – all four projectors are self-adjusting so that at higher speed they automatically project further ahead to take into account the extra ground being covered at pace.
The rear projector is fed information from the sensors that monitor how close a nearby vehicle is. If another vehicle gets inside the pre-determined range to the bike then the rear-facing braking projector unit casts a solid red line out of the back of a bike which pulses, moves out away from the rear of the bike and changes to a large, road-level ‘X’ when the motorcycle comes to a stop.
Both front and rear projection units also fire a pulsing light onto the floor that glows and replicates the pulse from the onboard indicators, although this looks like four more, smaller projectors mounted into the indicators on the drawings from the factory, the accompanying details say that the reality of the system is that there will be four projectors mounted to the motorcycle only so it’s likely that the indicators will be cast from the same projection units that take care of the other casting functions. The lights not only cast onto the floor at the same time as the indicators are lit on the bike, they also move around the relevant side of the bike in a semi-circle to show which way the bike is about to move. The same-side side projection unit will also flicker in time with the indicators to show which way the motorcycle is turning.
There’s no indication of when this system may appear on a motorcycle or scooter, but Suzuki has been very active in terms of filing new tech recently including a two-wheel drive system and production-ready outline for the hydrogen fuel-cell bikes that are currently undergoing live tests in Japan and will be available in their home country as a rentable ‘city bike’ within the next couple of years. So bank on this light-tech being made public in that sort of timescale…