Electronic driver aids on today’s motorcycles are becoming increasingly complex. With state-of-the-art performance-oriented aids such as cornering ABS and traction control, as well as selectable rider aids that optimize the bike’s performance on the track, other comfort-focused features have been incorporated, such as adaptive cruise control. To add to this, Yamaha thinks the next big thing will come in the form of electric power steering.
That’s right, Yamaha is developing a new electric power steering system specifically for two-wheelers. It is currently in the prototype stage and is part of the company’s Transformative Mobility Initiative. The new technology is expected to improve stability and agility, especially on larger and heavier machines.
The Yamaha EPS has a magnetostrictive torque sensor, which is different from the system seen in cars and other four-wheelers. This gives the device two-in-one functionality, allowing it to function as a steering damper at high speeds while providing power steering at low speeds.
Increased stability and agility, as well as reduced driver fatigue, benefit the driver, increasing the level of fun, safety and comfort. The EPS actuator uses a torque sensor to convert electrical signals into physical movement, giving it two unique functions.
When used as a steering damper, EPS reduces undesirable handlebar movement at high speeds by counteracting external pressures transmitted to the handlebar by changes in the road surface. At low speeds, the power steering function supplements the handlebar movements according to the driver’s input.
The system is designed to provide active steering assistance while maintaining a natural feel for the rider. As part of its real-world testing, the new EPS technology is being tested on Yamaha YZ450FM and YZ250F racing bikes competing in the Japan Motocross Championship, and the data obtained is being used to create the EPS that will eventually be installed on production motorcycles.
In addition to off-road use, Yamaha’s EPS system can help improve the comfort and long-distance drivability of street bikes such as touring bikes, cruisers and sport-tourers.