http://www.wired.com/2015/06/new-ducati-stability-system-makes-crashing-near-impossible/ New Ducati Stability System Makes Crashing Near Impossible Sean MacDonald Date of Publication: 06.10.15. 06.10.15 Time of Publication: 4:44 pm. 4:44 pm Click to Open Overlay Gallery Bosch's new stability control system is available for the 2016 Multistrada and 1299 Panigale. Ducati I’m sitting on a new Ducati Multistrada in a large paved lot. A light sprinkling turns into a downpour as I listen intently to a Ducati rep tell me how I’m supposed to ride in a circle at 45 mph at a 35-degree lean, then stab the front brake. In other words, I’m to risk crashing an $18,000 motorcycle. This nut actually thinks I’m going to stay upright. And all I can think is the stability control system developed by Bosch and used by Ducati must be really good. Staying Up on Two Wheels Stability control is a simple idea: A computer works with sensors in the vehicle to recognize loss of traction, then uses the brakes and the engine to stop the skid without any intervention on your part. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety estimates stability control can eliminate one-third of fatal car crashes. That’s why it’s commonplace in automobiles. In recent years, stability control has made its way onto motorcycles, related to anti-lock braking and traction control systems. This latest iteration from Bosch, available on the 2016 Multistrada and 1299 Panigale, takes anti-lock brake and traction control systems to a whole new level. Click to Open Overlay Gallery BOSCH A car can move in two dimensions—back and forth or left and right—but a motorcycle’s got more options. It can roll (lean), yaw (turn left or right like a car), and pitch (the front or back of the bike lifts or dips under acceleration or braking, which sometimes results in a wheel coming off the ground). Oh, and the brakes use separate controls (the front brake lever is on the handlebar, the rear is at the right foot pedal). The stability control reins in the bike, providing the maximum braking force it can handle at a given angle of lean in a given condition, updating that by the hundredth-second. So Bosch’s system uses sensors to monitor differences in speed between the front and rear wheels, noticing if one loses traction. A five-axis accelerometer monitors lean angles and attitude. Data on acceleration, deceleration, yaw, roll, pitch, lift, and relative wheel speeds is collated and processed hundreds of times a second. If a problem is detected, the system does its work via Bosch’s ninth-generation motorcycle antilock braking system. If the rider applies more brake than the available traction can handle, the system bleeds away a little pressure, maintaining grip. It can also redirect that braking force to the optimal wheel. If the rear wheel starts to spin due to too much throttle, the system mitigates that input. The motorcycle’s performance is optimized in real time, in three dimensions. Environmental conditions remaining constant, the amount of grip a motorcycle tire has is reduced the further it leans over; at 33 degrees, grip is reduced to 85 percent of what it is straight up and down. This stability control system can rein in the bike, providing the maximum braking force it can handle at a given angle of lean in a given condition, updating that by the hundredth-second. Trying to Crash To see how it works, we headed to Bosch’s Detroit test facility, where the company replicates nasty weather conditions in the safety of a controlled environment. It features a track with banked turns, hills at a variety of pitches, and several stretches with different surfaces to represent a variety of traction situations. One bit is paved with porcelain and clay tiles, and is drenched with sprinklers. There, we were able to recreate the kind of conditions riders hate—like rolling over a wet manhole cover or down a rainy, oil-strewn road. If a car pulls out ahead of you and you grab the brakes, they could lock. A traditional anti-lock braking system would activate, but might fail to meaningfully slow the bike. Click to Open Overlay Gallery For extra safety on some tests, we used outrigger wheels on the bikes—think training wheels—that make crashing impossible. BOSCH No such problem with this new version of stability control, which determines how much grip each wheel can provide, and keeps the braking force just within that limit. That holds the bike stable while slowing it down as much as possible. To test it, I hit the wet tiled pad after a 40 mph rolling start, then apply the gas. Most bikes with traction control systems would switch between revving high and chopping power, applying power and then sensing the lost traction. The Ducati feels like I just popped into a much higher gear and am too low in the rev range (like putting a car in sixth gear while doing 35 mph). That keeps the power steady, while drastically reducing the torque in the power delivery. Traction is kept, seamlessly. The Multistrada just refuses to crash, instead smoothly translating the choppy brake and throttle inputs into seamless, safe deceleration or acceleration. That’s with the bike upright. For extra safety, we’ve slapped outrigger wheels on the bikes—think training wheels—that make crashing impossible. The real test for the system comes when a bike is leaning through a corner—and we forego the outriggers, to allow for the sharper angles. To test cornering performance, I put the bike at 35 degrees of lean—typical for a sharp corner—and stab the brakes or throttle, doing it faster each time. First 35, then 45 and 55 mph, all on a wet, slippery surface. It works against every survival instinct I’ve developed as a motorcyclist. It is absolute madness. At least on a normal bike. The Multistrada just refuses to crash, instead smoothly translating the choppy brake and throttle inputs into seamless, safe deceleration or acceleration. An added benefit is that, while braking, the motorcycle no longer pushes wide in a corner. Maintaining your direction of travel around a turn is just as important as keeping the bike upright. Wet or dry, dirty, sandy or rocky, using Bosch’s stability control on these Ducatis will keep riders safer in emergency situations. It should also allow owners to ride the bikes faster, by monitoring traction limits continuously and allowing you to apply as much power or brakes as the tires can handle. Riding a motorcycle just got a whole lot safer, which means that riding a motorcycle in the real world just got a whole lot faster, too. And more fun. = = = = Thoughts?