Skip to main content

Robo-bike: V2V inter-vehicle communication tech experiment takes to two wheels

BMW F 800 R urbanKITT and his sidekick David Hasselhoff have gotten us used to the idea of talking cars, but what about talking motorcycles?

That is, motorcycles that can talk to each other. The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI), in concert with the U.S. Department of Transportation and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are testing vehicle-to-vehicle communication (V2V) tech in cars under the Safety Pilot Model Deployment. Now, they want to try it out on bikes, too.

V2V-equipped vehicles use dedicated short range communication to orient themselves and track other moving objects. In theory, they will be able to identify an imminent collision and warn the driver.

Eight car manufacturers have already signed up for the program, and now they’re being joined by BMW and Honda motorcycles. V2V equipment for the bikes will be provided by Cohda Wireless, which supplied equipment for about half of the cars in the Safety Pilot Model Deployment.

Before the motorcycles are let loose on the road with V2V equipped cars, they’ll have to pass proof of concept tests to make sure they can communicate with each other and the environment.

If those tests are successful, the motorcycles will join up to 3,000 V2V-equipped vehicles on Michigan roads. Currently, UMTRI, NHTSA, and the DOT have earmarked 73 lane-miles of road around Ann Arbor for the tests.

The yearlong test will provide real-world data on the effectiveness of V2V, allowing carmakers and the federal government to make decisions about its utility as a crash-preventer, when used on both two and four-wheeled vehicles. 

We’ll let you know what they find out when testing wraps up.

Stephen Edelstein
Stephen is a freelance automotive journalist covering all things cars. He likes anything with four wheels, from classic cars…
Tesla Model 3 vs. Hyundai Ioniq 6: Which electric sedan is best?
Front three quarter view of the 2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6.

There are finally some more electric sedan options. For years, the Tesla Model 3 was really the only good electric sedan that comes at a reasonable price -- until, Hyundai recently launched the Ioniq 6. The Ioniq 6 certainly takes some cues from the larger Ioniq 5, but is smaller and sleeker, with a design seemingly inspired by the Porsche 911.

But the Tesla Model 3 is still clearly an excellent option for those looking for an electric car, and who don't want a larger crossover. Which is better? Here's a look.
The exterior design of the Tesla Model 3 and Hyundai Ioniq 6 is quite different. If you've seen a Tesla car before, then you'll immediately recognize the Model 3 -- it looks largely like a slightly different version of every other Tesla (except the Cybertruck).

Read more
Scout Motors Electric SUV: rumored price, release date, design, and more
Scout SUV Teaser

There's another electric SUV on the way, and this one comes with a familiar name. Volkswagen is reviving the classic Scout name for a new electric SUV that's billed as being an "RUV," or a rugged utility vehicle. And, it could well prove itself as the best electric SUV in its price range, when it does finally come out.

The new EV isn't due out for quite some time, but there's already a fair bit that we know about it. Curious to learn more? Here's everything you need to know about the upcoming Scout SUV.
There's very little we actually know about the Scout SUV so far, but we do know a little about the eventual design. A few teasers for the upcoming vehicle have been released, showing sketches of both the SUV and the accompanying pickup truck, along with what's presumably the front of the SUV -- though in a dark environment, with little detail.

Read more
Volkswagen ID.GTI concept is another icon reimagined as an EV
Front three quarter view of the Volkswagen ID.GTI concept.

Volkswagen reinvented one of its most iconic models with the ID.Buzz, a modern, all-electric homage to the classic Microbus. But that's not the only fan favorite vehicle currently in the automaker's catalog.

Debuting at the 2023 Munich Auto Show, the Volkswagen ID.GTI concept aims to do for the Golf GTI hot hatchback — VW's signature performance car — what the ID.Buzz did for the Microbus. VW claims a production version has already been given the green light, although it won't say when it will appear.

Read more