How Motorcycle Radar Technology Works | Ductalk: What's Up In The World Of Ducati |

Ducati and BMW are introducing radar-based driving aids to some new models. Here's how these systems work and how they'll help you as a rider.

Active cruise control and other semi-autonomous systems are coming to motorcycles.

For years, the only time radar and motorcycles have mixed was when it came to radar detectors and staying out of trouble with Johnny Law. Now, though, two new motorcycles, the Ducati Multistrada V4 and the BMW R 1250 RT, will be available with active radar systems to provide active cruise control and other safety features. How do these systems work, and what will they add to your motorcycling experience?

The concept of radar, an acronym that stands for "RAdio Direction And Ranging," goes back to the 1930s. Basically, the system sends out a brief radio transmission, then it listens to see if that radio burst gets reflected back to its source by an object. It knows what direction the object is in based on what direction the antenna is pointing at the time (direction) and determines how far away the object is by how long it took the reflection to come back (ranging), which means the system can plot precisely where that object is. This is how the UK got the early warning it needed to fend off Luftwaffe attacks during the Battle of Britain.

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