The next generation KTM 390 Duke is set to be one of the first products in its segment to offer radar-based cruise control
Transfer of technologies from passenger cars to motorcycles is not a new trend. Over the past few decades, a number of features, especially electronic systems, originated in four wheelers and eventually found their way on to motorcycles.
The ongoing push to make the cars semi- or fully autonomous is also bound to have some rub off on the two wheeler segment. The radar-based cruise control system which has started cropping up on high-end motorcycles is just the beginning.
KTM 390 Duke with radar technology
KTM has a reputation for bringing premium features to the medium and compact displacement segment. The current KTM 390 Duke packs in full LED headlight, colour TFT instrument console with Bluetooth connectivity, WP suspension, slipper and assist clutch, dual-channel ABS, and so on.
So, the emergence of a patent application showing radar technology on what appears to be the next gen 390 Duke platform does not come as a surprise to us. KTM is close to bringing the radar-based advanced rider assistance system technology into production with its new 1290 Adventure.
The patent filing represents a simpler version that could go into the brand’s popular medium displacement motorcycles. The patent filing proposes three solutions for the front-mounted radar module, all embedded into the headlight system.
The first design has the radar sensor mounted lower in the headlight cluster, just below the heat sink while the second one features the sensor above the heat sink. The former would be ideal for an adventure tourer with a tall ride height while the latter would be more suitable for lower riding road bikes where a higher mounting point within the headlamp cowl would make for a better angle for the radar.
The third option represents a Husqvrana-style circular headlamp with the radar module located in the center. This indicates that the technology will also be available on future iterations of Husqvarna road bikes like Vitpilen and Svartpilen.
The radar modules, depending on the number and location, have multiple applications on a motorcycle. The obvious use of front-mounted radar module is adaptive cruise console and emergency brake assist. Higher end models usually also employ a rear-mounted unit which facilitates features like rear collision warning, blind spot detection etc.
However, in the interest of keeping costs low, the smaller Duke is expected to be equipped only with the front module. It is to be noted that the radar-based assistance systems would also need IMU (Inertial Measurement Sensor) to function safely.
KTM 390 Duke Supermoto variant in the making?
The sketch of the motorcycle used to illustrate the radar technology in the patent filing appears to be a variant of the next generation 390 Duke. The sketch represents updated trellis frame with new rear sub-frame and spoke wheels. While one shouldn’t read too much into the patent sketch which is usually used only for representative purposes, it does add some gravity to the claims that a supermoto variant of the 390 Duke is in the pipeline.