The Internet of Things might be the next big thing for our homes, but it's beginning to play a bigger role in motorsport too. After announcing an IoT-based partnership with Williams earlier this year, Accenture has now announced it will be helping the Ducati MotoGP team develop its 2017 challenger and hopefully return the team to winning ways. Accenture's latest project involves two of the most important parts of vehicle development – simulations and data collection – and combines them both to make R&D an even faster, more intuitive process. During testing at least, bikes have around 100 IoT sensors onboard, measuring everything from tyre temperature to oil pressure and much more, and after each run, engineers must sift through the numbers, and work out what to do next. Simply put, Accenture's Integrated Machine Learning software essentially works by learning real-world data, and then producing its own educated predictions.
Ducati has hinted at a desire to make electric motorcycles before, but it's committing in a more substantial way. Company chief Claudio Domenicali told guests at a Spanish event that the "future is electric" and the company was "not far from starting production" on its own two-wheeled TV. Regional Managing Director Eduoard Lotthé had hinted at plans in 2017, but this is about as official as it gets. Domenicali didn't provide clues as to what this e-bike would entail, although it's safe to presume this won't be a leisurely cruiser given Ducati's brand image. Lotthé had suggested something might appear in 2021, though that was far from a definitive statement.
For several years everything in motorcycling got bigger. Ducati's entry-level Monster started life as a manageable 600 but ended up a massive 1200. KTM's Adventure line began as a 990, grew into a 1090, and eventually became a 1290. Now, things are moving in the opposite direction as motorcycle manufacturers, dying to bring new riders into a stagnant sales market, are making smaller and smaller machines. Honda and Kawasaki have recently reintroduced 250cc dual sport motorcycles.