Expect more Austrian-led motorcycle innovation as KTM Opens a new R&D centre in Germany. The company has been restructuring and expanding for a few years now, including acquiring Husaberg AB, Husqvarna Motorcycles and White Power Suspension. With a 47.97% stake held by Bajaj Auto, they’ve also introduced everything from electric off-road bikes, the KTM X-Bow car, new road bikes, and a MotoGP machine to join existing Moto2 and Moto3 efforts.
What a big, square building. But the work inside should be interesting. The site will be managed by Klaus Krumpholz and will house around 30 employees. They will be focusing on electronics development. Which includes systems that facilitate ‘digital connectivity between the rider and motorcycle’. And following on with interconnected vehicles for long-term accident prevention.
That’s important, given the rise in technology around autonomous vehicles. Whatever your views about self-driving bikes, or computers helping youa void crashing, it seems inevitable those technologies will play a much greater role in motorcycling in the future. Especially if governments around the world will let us still use two wheels when anything larger will be relying on the likes of Google to pilot it automatically. The trick for bike manufacturers will be included enough safety measures to keep motorcycling legal. But keeping it exciting enough to be worth doing.
“As a premium manufacturer in the motorcycle segment, we place particular emphasis on the area of research & development. New products and the constant implementation of technical innovations enable us to meet the high expectations of our customers and open up new markets on a long-term basis,” says Philipp Habsburg, head of the KTM Research & Development department. “In 2016, KTM AG invested around 110 million euros in model development and the infrastructure of the Mattighofen and Munderfing sites and thus further strengthened and expanded the Austrian location. With the opening of the new KTM R&D Centre in Rosenheim, we are continuing this trend in Germany.”
KTM already has a substantial R&D department at the Austrian headquarters in Miggihofen, and that group is still growing. But the Rosenheim building as been chosen as a location for an entirely new team. Mainly because there happens to be the Rosenheim University of Applied Sciences nearby, which has about 5000 students. And a dedicated Electrical Engineering and Information technology Department which was founded in 1995. Not daft, those KTM people.
It’ll be a while before we see what comes out of the new KTM R&D team at Rosenheim. But given the enthusiasm of the company for electric bikes and other innovation, and it’s likely to be pretty interesting.