Safety is of paramount importance to all road users, more so motorcyclists, who are, by far, the most vulnerable. A collaboration between auto industry automation giant Bosch and Israeli company Autotalks aims to reduce that risk with a Wi-Fi based system that enables a motorcycle to alert surrounding vehicles to its presence, as well as warn the rider of impending collisions.

Autotalks’ bike-to-vehicle, or B2V, system communicates with other vehicles on the road, exchanging data such as speed, direction, location, braking status and other parameters with similarly equipped machines. Currently scheduled for testing using Ducati motorcycles, the Autotalks system is lightweight, compact, and low-powered, making it suitable for use on bikes, says Autotalks chief technology officer Onn Haran.

This is a development of the vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) system the company developed for use in larger vehicles, and research by Bosch suggests one-third of accidents involving motorcycles in Germany could be prevented by using it. However, for the system to be successful, it requires that a significant number of vehicles on the road have V2V or B2V installed.

Implementing such a system will require government intervention, mandating that it be installed in all future vehicles, as is being done in the US where the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) is considering such a rule. For carmakers, Volkswagen (VW) plans to have most of its cars equipped with the pWLAN (IEEE 802.11p) wireless connectivity standard by 2019.

Slated to hit the road in 2019, VW’s technology aims to help detect hazards such as cars making emergency stops, or black ice on the road. This information can be shared instantly with surrounding vehicles and transport infrastructure (car-to-car and car-to-X), enabling other road users to take prompt reaction.

“It’s a low-cost solution with a small form factor, which is critical for motorcycles,” Haran said when talking to Wired. “It can operate in a wide temperature range and be placed anywhere on the motorcycle.” The Autotalk system is being designed to alert the rider when imminent danger is present, such as a car running a red light or braking suddenly.