By Wade Thiel
Active Aero on an MP3 Scooter?
When you think Piaggio, you likely think low-speed commuting, but the company might be getting a little crazy. It recently filed a patent for an active aerodynamic device. The device uses winglets that rotate up or down to alter rotational force. The patent was published with the World Intellectual Property Office but it was filed in Italy in late 2018.
The patent drawings show an MP3 scooter. That’s a three-wheeled machine, but the active aero system could easily be used on a regular scooter or motorcycle. Piaggio, which owns Aprilia, has been working on an active aero system for high-speed bikes, according to Motorcycle.com. This patent is not surprising. What is surprising is the use of the MP3 in the drawings. Motorcycle.com says the Aprilia and Piaggio patents don’t appear to be connected, but I’d expect there’s some connection.
Anyway, the patent shows C-shaped winglets on the front fairing. These winglets are similar to the Aprilia RS-GP MotoGP bike’s winglets. However, unlike the winglets on the MotoGP bike, the top ones showed in the patent move. They are electronically controlled and move independently. The onboard computer takes the lean angle and steering into account when moving the winglets.
According to the patent, this system helps for quicker rolling onto our out of corners and has a noticeable effect at speeds higher than 31 mph. The winglets can also move together to put more or less downforce on the front wheels (or wheel depending on if it’s a trike or a motorcycle). This could help with braking and accelerating.
Just because the patent was filed doesn’t mean Piaggio will move forward with it and put it into production, but it’s a clear indicator of what the company is currently working on.