The Malta Independent 21 October 2021, Thursday

€200k in research funds to produce tech that will help design and customise safer motorcycles

Tuesday, 21 September 2021, 09:42 Last update: about 30 days ago

A project undertaken by researchers from the Department of Systems and Control Engineering and the Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering within the University of Malta, in collaboration with industrial partner WKD Works Ltd, aims to provide an unprecedented Product Service System (PSS) which supports motorcycle customisation to enhance its comfort and safety. This project was made possible thanks to €200,000 in research funds from MCST.

Minister for Equality, Research and Innovation Owen Bonnici visited the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Malta Campus where work on this project is being carried out. During his visit, Minister Bonnici was able to witness this innovative project in action. Minister Bonnici praised the initiative taken by the researchers, saying that “This project is a great example of how research and innovation can provide concrete solutions that can really improve lives and the wellbeing of the whole society. Road safety is an issue that affects us all, and it is great to see academics join forces with the industrial sector and make the best use of research funds to address motorcycle safety”.

Bonnici thanked WKD Works Ltd for trusting in the great talent of Maltese researchers who are consistently making progress in their areas of interest and coming up with innovations that have great potential for commercialization. The minister ended by encouraging the private sector to collaborate with researchers and take a more active role in research and innovation.

Project Coordinator Ing. Philip Farrugia said, “Ride + Safe was motivated by the alarming increase in motorcycle fatalities in Malta so we decided to focus on a User-Centred Design approach and started by consulting with motorcyclists themselves. Besides the caution, which must be taken by the rider whilst driving, the rider’s position has a large impact on the way the motorcycle behaves.”

If the rider tries to adapt to an unnatural position, the chances of making an error in manoeuvres will increase, due to higher levels of muscle fatigue and tension. Thus, if the rider is more comfortable and concentrated while riding, the risk of accidents is reduced. Thanks to Ride & Safe, one will be able to customize a motorcycle to fit one’s body, posture, and requirements.

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