BMW Motorrad and Alpinestars have just launched an exclusive partnership to develop airbag safety clothing. The first product from the pairing will be a motorcycle jacket equipped with an airbag waistcoat based on Alpinestars' Tech-Air airbag technology.

Alpinestars touts its Tech-Air as the world’s first self-contained street airbag system designed to function without the need for sensors to be fitted to the motorcycle. This eliminates the need for any kind of installation or pairing with a specific bike. All the rider has to do is zip up their jacket and the system is activated.

An LED display located on the sleeve provides visual confirmation the system is active and displays the battery’s charging level. When fully charged, its battery pack should be good for 25 hours of continuous use, with Alpinestars adding that one hour of charging is sufficient for four hours of riding time.

The airbag is controlled by a small electronic unit housed in a durable, water resistant casing and uses an algorithm to detect imminent danger. This custom analysis software owes its sophistication to the experience harvested from MotoGP and the Tech-Air race airbag system developed by and for world champions Marc Marquez, Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa.

The algorithm of the street version has been optimized to identify all possible danger situations, including low- and high-side collisions. It even detects accidents that occur when the motorcycle is stationary, such as a rear impact while waiting at the traffic lights, for example.

Depending on the accident type, the system will typically detect an impact within 30 to 60 milliseconds and deploy in the subsequent 25 ms, promising protection to the chest, kidney areas, back and shoulders.

Interchangeability is another strong selling point for the Tech-Air system. Although it can only be used in combination with specifically designed jackets, one airbag vest can be attached to different Tech-Air jackets depending on motorcycle type, weather conditions or simply the rider’s desire.

The BMW Motorrad jacket, which will carry branding of both BMW and Alpinestars and come in male and female versions, is set to make its public debut later this year.

The following video shows the Alpinestars Tech-Air street airbag system in action and outlines its functions.

Sources: BMW, Alpinestars

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