For a few years now, Polaris has been offering the Ride Command system on its high-end quads. This system offers a host of features including an integrated GPS.
Moreover, the Ride Command system also offers the possibility to stay “connected” to other quads equipped with the same system. This connection is independent of cellular signals. Thus, it remains functional even without cellular coverage.
Polaris has taken this to the next level by allowing you to see your fellow riders in real time on the GPS map. These features are now available in several product lines at Polaris. Among others, they are available on snowmobiles and also quads.
In 2021, Ski-Doo introduced communications features in its high-end display package. Among the features offered, we can know the position of other snowmobiles nearby and even create a group with our friends who ride with us. I think we should see these features in Can-Am products in 2022.
Over the years, several detection systems have appeared on the market, mainly for snowmobiles. Among them, we find the Posi-Trail system that was launched two years ago and also the Bats device that was briefly offered a dozen years ago.
All of these systems have a common objective, which is to increase the safety of ATV riders by detecting the presence of other vehicles in the area. When combined with a GPS system, they allow to see directly on the map the position of other snowmobiles relative to ours.
The shortcomings of these systems are :
– To be detected, other snowmobiles must be equipped with the same system.
– These systems are not compatible with each other. For example, a Ski-Doo snowmobile cannot detect a Polaris…
– The number of vehicles equipped with one or the other of these systems is minimal, so you can’t really rely on them 100%.
– The cost of these systems requires a substantial investment.
We are therefore facing a dead end since the possible detection of other quads or surfacers remains marginal.
Towards a universal system
As a quad rider, I believe that manufacturers should develop a standard system to detect the proximity of a quad (or other vehicle), resurfacers and emergency vehicles. They could then integrate it into all their new quads. They could also offer a small optional device that quad owners could install on their vehicles that do not have one.
Clubs could also equip their resurfacers with compatible locator beacons.
The price of such a device could be much more affordable as the development costs would be amortized over a larger number of units. Thus, over time, more and more quads would be equipped and the overall effectiveness of this universal system would become even greater.
Moreover, this universal detection system could be exported to other types of vehicles.
Regardless of the system, people will consider two major elements when deciding whether or not to buy it: the percentage of quads equipped with this system and, of course, the purchase price.
In my humble opinion, any such system that is not universal would not be able to provide enough detection to convince people to buy it.
In closing, I believe that manufacturers should work together for a universal detection system for quads, snowmobiles and resurfacers. The entire off-road vehicle community would benefit!