Automatic Maneuver and Hazard Detection for On-Track Motorcycle Testing


The Institute of Automatic Control and Institute for Automotive Engineering were involved in the development of a comprehensive proving ground safety system for automotive and motorcycle test driving.


Before newly developed vehicles and vehicle components are approved for public road traffic, they are typically tested on special proving grounds. Test drivers of motorcycles, in particular, have a considerable risk of accidents. The aim of the SiMT project, which received funding from the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection, was to develop a comprehensive test site safety system for motorcycles. Similar systems for cars and trucks have been successful in demonstrating the safety benefits such systems provide.

Both the Institute of Automatic Control (IRT), headed by Professor Dirk Abel, and Institute for Automotive Engineering (ika), headed by Professor Lutz Eckstein, contributed to the project. IRT developed methods for localization and driving state estimation, while ika developed a motorcycle-specific Human Machine Interface. The project was coordinated by the company mm-lab GmbH, which was responsible for the development of methods for detecting driving maneuvers and safety-relevant situations and integrated the individual components into the motorcycle-specific proving ground safety system.

Inspired by existing test site safety systems for cars and trucks, the researchers developed hardware and software for motorcycle-specific requirements from scratch. Proving ground safety systems provide operators with the opportunity to centrally monitor safety-relevant parameters such as maximum speeds, driving direction, and access controls and to detect hazardous situations at an early stage, delivering warning messages to the control center and to the vehicles’ on-board units.

The system detects motorcycle-specific driving maneuvers, collisions, and other hazards in order to flash a warning or initiate corrective measures. The Human Machine Interface also allows communication with the test drivers. In a final test at the Aldenhoven Testing Center, the functionalities of the system were successfully validated, and it was shown that test sites equipped with the technology provide test drivers with a much safer working environment.