ADAMo Project “Adaptive Digital Aerodynamics for Motorbikes”


ADAMo Project “Adaptive Digital Aerodynamics for Motorbikes”

ADAMo project “Adaptive Digital Aerodynamics for Motorbikes”

POR FESR 2014-2020 – Tender notice 1 “Strategic research and development projects”
Duration: 2017-2019
Total project Budget: 3.992.500,00€
Partnership: CUBIT Scarl, Piaggio & C. SpA, PSM Srl, R.I.CO. Srl, Telcomms Srl, National Institute of Nuclear Physics – INFN, University of Pisa – Department of Information Engineering

The ADAMo project, co-funded by the Tuscany Region, plans to develop an active aerodynamic system for motorbike applications using mobile and/or deformable surfaces. The ADAMo system aims to optimize aerodynamic configurations based on actual operational situations and certain usability targets selected by the users.


The Idea behind the project

The optimal aerodynamic configuration of a motorbike is not fixed but varies according to different factors, and depends, in particular, on the specific operating conditions (speed, side wind, interference from other vehicles, weather conditions, etc.) and the different usability objectives (consumption, lateral stability, safety, comfort, performance, etc.). Furthermore, unlike for closed vehicles, the optimal configuration also considers elements such as posture and rider size and the presence or absence of the passenger. The term “usability” refers to the degree to which a product can be used by a particular user to achieve the set goal.

The ADAMo project aims to develop an active aerodynamics system, within the motorbike sector, using innovations in the various technological components involved in the system (sensors, data transmission, HPC calculation architecture, strategy for active aerodynamics, evolution of the App). The system is in fact based on Software Defined Sensing methodologies in which the nodes of the wireless sensor network, interacting with the physical sensing device, will be able to obtain different types of data processed according to the specific system requirements.

The implementation of the ADAMo system involves the development of two aerodynamic data bases. The first, defined of characterization, will be obtained by using both CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) and wind tunnel tests in order to identify the aerodynamic characteristics of the motorbike. The second optimization data base will contain the information to define the control strategy of the active aerodynamic system.


Technological objectives of the project

The ADAMo project aims to:

  • Develop an active aerodynamics system in the motorbike sector that can change the aerodynamic flow according to the particular operating conditions (speed, side wind, interference from other vehicles, weather conditions, etc.), to improve the characteristics of the vehicle in terms of performance and / or consumption and / or security and / or comfort.
  • Develop a mobile app that allows you to select the desired operating mode (e.g. comfort, air / water protection, consumption, manageability, stability, etc.) and receive the appropriate return information, making it also available for remote use.

Active aerodynamic techniques, which vary the geometry according to the operating conditions (for example by means of high-lift/drag mechanisms), offer significant advantages in terms of performance. In the aviation sector, where they have been used for many decades, they allow the shape of the aircraft to adapt to specific conditions and therefore always to fly with an optimal shape, which varies, for example, in the take-off and cruising phases.

Despite the possible advantages, in the land vehicle sector this technique is not currently used; there are only a few applications in high performance cars, where, however, the changes to the geometry are not obtained according to the actual operating conditions, but according to fixed criteria defined in the design phase (for example, the achievement of a certain speed of the vehicle). These solutions, although simplified and not offering a real active aerodynamic control, are still effective. Although they are far from the potential of a methodology that links geometric variations to real operating conditions, they demonstrate the remarkable effectiveness of an active control of aerodynamics.

ADAMo Project “Adaptive Digital Aerodynamics for Motorbikes”

As specified above, despite the great advantages that it could bring, the active aerodynamic technique has only been used for some applications in the high- performance car sector. In fact, the concept was developed on the Ferrari FXX (Lombardi G., Maganzi M., Caldirola L., Cannizzo F., Perrotta G., The Aerodynamics Development of the Ferrari FXX, 6th MIRA International Vehicle Aerodynamics  Conference, Warwick (England), Oct. 2006) in order to reduce resistance at a given speed: in this way the car has two different configurations, one for low speed, characterized by a high vertical load for safety, and one for high speed with a reduced resistance to decrease fuel consumption.

Currently, In the motorbike field, there is no real active control application of the vehicle’s aerodynamics. There are manually adjustable devices to improve rider comfort on an ergonomic basis, such as mechanically (for example, Piaggio X9 500, Piaggio Mp3 500) or electrically (for example, Moto Guzzi Norge 1200, Gilera GP800) adjustable windshields. There are embryos of fixed aerodynamic appendages (mini ailerons) used in MotoGP, but the peculiarities of the dynamics of the two-wheeled vehicle strongly limit its effectiveness.

By implementing the ADAMo system, it will be possible to optimally modify the flow, and therefore the forces, with regard to the real operational situation and take into consideration the aspect selected by the pilot (for example, reduced consumption, increased safety, increase in comfort, etc.). A multi-objective approach to the definition of active aerodynamics can be used in the optimization process in order to take the various aspects into account at the same time. The optimization procedure will not be unique, but there will be a number to cover the “usability-operating condition”.

Within the project we want to propose two-dimensional sensors, based on MEMS technology (Micro Electro Mechanical Systems), which can be reconfigurable thanks to the use of an appropriate electronic conditioning of the physical sensor. It will be possible to design, build and test a sensor capable of acquiring data on the aerodynamic surface pressure, and design and create a wireless sensor system capable of collecting pressure data with the lowest possible environmental intrusion.

The communication between peripheral sensors and central communication unit (UCC) will be wireless, aimed at obtaining maximum flexibility even in the relocation of sensor nodes (mote) which are interconnected to the devices of physical sensing (sensing devices). This communication will take place using solutions related to Wireless Sensor Networks, with low energy consumption, low bit rate, and generally, for which the loss of information (due to transmission errors) may not be negligible.


Expected project results

The results of the project can be used both to evolve supersport bikes and, generally, in the motorbike sector.  Adaptive aerodynamics can in fact be utilized also for urban and city vehicles which, from a marketing point of view, sell more than high performance models.

Therefore, from an initial analysis of the impact on employment, the project will lead to a significant increase in the personnel of the partnership companies. This employment impact can be much greater in the case of widespread application in the motorbike market.

Thanks to the complementary aspects of the skills employed in the ADAMo project, it will be possible to develop innovative solutions not only in the motorbike sector, but generally in for the active control on vehicles, such as cars, ships, trains, etc.

ADAMo Project “Adaptive Digital Aerodynamics for Motorbikes”

CUBIT. C​ubus project, co-financed under Tuscany POR FESR 2014-2020