BMW radar reflector patent: Hello car, here I am

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BMW radar reflector patent: Hello car, here I am


technology & future

BMW radar reflector patent: Hello car, here I am

BMW radar reflector patent
Hello car, here I am

An important point for the safety of motorcyclists is their visibility. With the advent of autonomous road users, motorcycles must be made more visible for their sensors.

Uli Baumann

March 24, 2021

Switched on lights, safety vests or bright colors – motorcyclists do a lot to increase their visibility in traffic and thus their own safety. All of these measures are only used to make other drivers aware of you.

However, many modern cars are increasingly bringing with them autonomous driving functions. This means that the car records the traffic and its surroundings independently of the driver’s visual perception and acts independently. The car manufacturers rely on optical systems and radar for this sensor technology. However, a radar doesn’t care about a safety vest or switched on lights – it only detects objects by the reflection of the radar beams emitted. Since motorcycles have little space and many models are covered with plastic, their perception is restricted by a radar system.

Technology from the shipping industry

This is exactly where the BMW patent comes in. The approach that the Bavarians are pursuing is not new and has been used in shipping for a long time. Radar reflectors are used to amplify your own radar echo. The principle is simple. Metallic surfaces at a 90-degree angle to one another generate a usable echo if they are large enough. Accordingly, plastic boats in particular are made with such components “visible” did.

BMW radar reflector patent: Hello car, here I am


On a boat, the size of such reflectors plays a rather subordinate role, but on a motorcycle it does. In its patent, BMW relies on balls the size of a golf ball with surfaces inserted at right angles to one another. They are mounted on small brackets at exposed points on the motorcycle and thus clearly mark the position of the motorcycle for the external radar. The BMW patent provides metal-coated plastic systems as an alternative to heavy metal components. Since these reflectors only work passively, they could easily be retrofitted.

opinion poll

What do you think of assistance systems on motorcycles??

Voted 1292 times

Anything that increases security is welcome.

They haven’t lost anything on the motorcycle.


BMW is thinking about how motorcycles can be made more visible for autonomous road users. The technology for this comes from shipping.

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