August 5, 2021
Piaggio Fast Forward (PFF), a Boston-based robotics company and developer of smart following technology, has announced it developed new sensor technology that can be implemented in consumer and business robots, but also in scooters and motorcycles.
Founded in 2015, the company previously focused on advancing innovation in smart following technology, and smart behavior implementation in robots and machines. But in a strategic decision last year, the company said it began developing a custom radar sensor module for use first in Piaggio Group motorcycles and scooters, with the intention to provide the technology to other companies in the future.
The PFF hardware-software modules provide monitoring in all environmental and lighting conditions, the company said. PFF awarded a supply contract for the modules’ Radar-on-Chip to Vayyar Imaging, which deployed the first-ever 4D imaging radar-based motorcycle safety platform. The complete sensor package is developed, built and supplied by PFF for mass production in Piaggio Group motorcycles’ Advanced Rider Assistance Systems (ARAS).
The ARAS applications aim to prevent collisions and protect motorcycle riders. The technology meets similar requirements of traditional driver assist functions, addressing additional motorcycle-specific challenges such as size constraints and seamless vehicle maneuverability at high-tilt angles, said PFF.
The PFF modules use Vayyar’s mmWave 4D imaging Radar-on-Chip sensor, enabling multiple ARAS functions such as blind spot detection, lane change assist, and forward collision warning with a single sensor supporting a range of more than 100 meters, and an ultra-wide field-of-view. PFF robots incorporating the radar technology are expected to be released at the end of 2021, with Piaggio Group motorcycles equipped with the PFF sensor module launching in 2022.
“PFF is creating advanced technology products for robots and motorcycles that detect and measure objects in our surroundings to provide the information we need for mapping, object detection, and control, regardless of lighting, weather and other environmental factors,” said Greg Lynn, CEO of Piaggio Fast Forward. “We have chosen to develop our sensing applications with Vayyar’s 4D imaging radar technology. We are excited to work with such a professional, passionate team, to develop innovative new solutions that provide our customers with a better product experience.”
The Vayyar 4D imaging radar technology being used in the robots and sensing modules support a large Multiple Input Multiple Output (MIMO) array that enables ultra-high resolution point cloud imaging for holistic monitoring of a robot’s and vehicle’s surroundings. The sensor incorporates single-chip 4D imaging radar technology featuring an ultra-wide field-of-view in azimuth and elevation with no dead zones, detecting and tracking multiple targets. The small form factor is engineered to address the unique challenges of motorcycle and robotics design, PFF said.
“We’re very excited to partner with PFF, who are at the forefront of sensor technology, both in terms of harmonization with rider experience on two- and three-wheeled products, as well as application in their innovative robots,” said Ilan Hayat, director of business development at Vayyar Imaging. “Motorcycle riders are among the most vulnerable road users, and this is a big step forward in reducing their risk of collision.”
For more details, visit the Piaggio Fast Forward website here.