This press release was originally published by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation.
To help ensure that two-wheelers remain a regular part of the traffic mix, the Motorcycle Safety Foundation and Virginia Tech Transportation Institute will share valuable data from motorcyclist behavior studies with autonomous vehicle developers. Sharing the data will help ensure that motorcyclists are included in AV research programs and will help preserve on-highway motorcycling.
Data from the MSF 100 Motorcyclists Naturalistic Study
will be available to any AV-related company, from vehicle manufacturers to tech
companies, through VTTI. In exchange for providing access to the MSF 100, VTTI
will ensure that the MSF can use the datasets from AV-related research for its
own analysis and published works.
“Autonomous vehicle development is a fact of life, and
while the timeline and practical application is unclear, what is clear is that
on-highway motorcycles must be included and motorcyclists’ rights must be
ensured,” MSF President Tim Buche said. “Developers are testing autonomous
vehicles on our roads now, without fully understanding the characteristics of
motorcycle riders. The more they understand motorcycles in the traffic mix, the
safer, better integrated, and more enjoyable roads can be for all users.”
“By providing data from the MSF 100 study, the largest
and most robust of its kind, we are helping to ensure that motorcyclists are
included in conversations about autonomous vehicles and traffic planning,”
AV research could also have benefits for motorcyclists.
“If it were possible to download, to human drivers, a perfect
understanding of how to see, avoid, and potentially even protect motorcyclists,
it would be an amazing improvement in rider safety,” said Shane McLaughlin,
center director of VTTI’s Center for Automated Vehicle Systems. “As riders, we
all want that. Of course, that is impossible. But what is possible is providing
that type of understanding to future vehicle systems. The MSF has always
trained riders for safety. By making the MSF 100 data available to automated
vehicle developers, the MSF could help train future vehicles on how to keep
The MSF 100 Motorcyclists Naturalistic Study tracked 100
riders across the U.S., each for a one-year period, collecting data on their
normal riding behaviors, from traffic scanning to reactions. The study also has
a wealth of data on crash and near-crash incidents, including identifying
factors in crashes, comparing rider behavior in a crash and during normal
riding, and providing analysis of risk exposure and more.
“It is our hope that AV systems developers can use data
from the MSF 100 to better design detection, planning, and control subsystems
with respect to interactions with motorcycles,” said Dr. Thomas A. Dingus, who
pioneered the naturalistic driving study research method. Dingus is also
director of VTTI, an endowed professor of Virginia Tech, and president of VTT,
LLC. “We want to assist AV systems developers in understanding the behavior of
motorcyclists in the traffic flow, and specifically improve AV interactions
with two-wheeled vehicles. We want to help make AVs safer, and we want them to
consider motorcycles in this process as early as possible.”
Traditionally, research conducted by the MSF served as
the basis for its curricula, consisting of a wide range of RiderCourses. The
availability of the MSF 100 data goes beyond that.
“We’re telling the government, automakers, everyone
involved with AV that we are here with the MSF 100 and more, and ready to
help,” Buche said. “Motorcycles must remain in our nation’s traffic mix, and
motorcyclists’ safety is our priority, so we encourage all parties with ongoing
AV research programs to reach out to VTTI.”
The Motorcycle Safety Foundation® promotes safety through
rider training and education, operator licensing tests and public information
programs. The MSF works with the federal government, state agencies, the
military and others to offer training for all skill levels so riders can enjoy
a lifetime of safe, responsible motorcycling. Standards established by the MSF®
have been recognized worldwide since 1973.
The MSF is a not-for-profit organization sponsored by American Honda Motor Co., Inc.; BMW Motorrad USA, BRP, Inc.; Harley-Davidson Motor Co., Inc.; Indian Motorcycle; Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A.; KTM North America, Inc.; Piaggio Group Americas, Inc.; Suzuki Motor of America, Inc.; Triumph Motorcycles Ltd; and Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A.. For safety information or to enroll in the RiderCourse nearest you, visit msf-usa.org, or call (800) 446-9227.
The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute conducts research to save lives, time, and money and protect the environment. As one of seven premier research institutes created by Virginia Tech to answer national challenges, VTTI is continually advancing transportation through innovation and has impacted public policy on national and international levels. In 2007, VTTI founded the Motorcycle Research Group with the objective of applying VTTI’s multidisciplinary research capabilities to real-world motorcycle riding. With the help of study participants and customers in the public and private sectors, the group has collected hundreds of thousands of real-world miles in approximately half of the United States.