Motorcycles

BMW shows motorcycle helmet head-up display and laser light concepts

BMW shows motorcycle helmet he...
According to BMW the motorcycle helmet of the future will do much more than simply protect the rider's head
According to BMW the motorcycle helmet of the future will do much more than simply protect the rider's head
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The BMW head-up display employs a glass display over the right eye that projects a variety of useful data
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The BMW head-up display employs a glass display over the right eye that projects a variety of useful data
The BMW head-up display is powered by two batteries at the rear of the helmet that last for five hours
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The BMW head-up display is powered by two batteries at the rear of the helmet that last for five hours
The head-up display equipped BMW helmet also includes front and rear view cameras that can substitute the bike's mirrors
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The head-up display equipped BMW helmet also includes front and rear view cameras that can substitute the bike's mirrors
The BMW head-up display projects information without obstructing the rider's field of view
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The BMW head-up display projects information without obstructing the rider's field of view
Additional information can be programmed to be displayed in BMW's HUD system
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Additional information can be programmed to be displayed in BMW's HUD system
A future step for BMW's HUD is the integration of vehicle-to-vehicle communication
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A future step for BMW's HUD is the integration of vehicle-to-vehicle communication
The BMW head-up display projects information directly into the rider’s field of view, eliminating the need to look away from the road to check the motorcycle’s instruments
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The BMW head-up display projects information directly into the rider’s field of view, eliminating the need to look away from the road to check the motorcycle’s instruments
According to BMW the motorcycle helmet of the future will do much more than simply protect the rider's head
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According to BMW the motorcycle helmet of the future will do much more than simply protect the rider's head
The BMW laser light can illuminate up to 600 meters ahead of the bike with a pure white light
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The BMW laser light can illuminate up to 600 meters ahead of the bike with a pure white light
The standard H4 high beam of the K 1600 GTL produces almost half the range that the laser light can achieve
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The standard H4 high beam of the K 1600 GTL produces almost half the range that the laser light can achieve
The BMW K 1600 GTL was selected by BMW to showcase the innovative laser light
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The BMW K 1600 GTL was selected by BMW to showcase the innovative laser light
BMW's laser light promises very long service life
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BMW's laser light promises very long service life
The laser light is a technology that BMW first introduced in its 7 Series and i8 cars
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The laser light is a technology that BMW first introduced in its 7 Series and i8 cars
The BMW laser light headlamps provide a beam that can reach up to double the range of a conventional headlight without blinding oncoming traffic
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The BMW laser light headlamps provide a beam that can reach up to double the range of a conventional headlight without blinding oncoming traffic

BMW Motorrad has presented two prototype electronic systems at CES 2016 that offer a clear view of the not-too-distant future. The company's tricked-out head-up display (HUD) helmet and laser-powered lighting system are destined to make motorcycles both safer and more functional.

BMW has never been the one to shy away from innovation. A pioneer in adopting motorcycle ABS, the German company continues to push the envelope with electronic systems like the Dynamic Brake Light and Side View Assist.

This week BMW has used one of the world's largest consumer electronics show to introduce more innovative technology. Having unveiled the iVision Concept and the AirTouch gesture-controlled interface for its cars, the motorcycle division has followed suit with two new concept systems.

Head-up Display

The head-up display equipped BMW helmet also includes front and rear view cameras that can substitute the bike's mirrors
The head-up display equipped BMW helmet also includes front and rear view cameras that can substitute the bike's mirrors

Companies like Intelligent Cranium, Reevu and BikeSystems have already invested heavily in the race to offer the first HUD system in the market. These systems are designed to project information directly into the rider's field of view, making riding safer by eliminating the need to look away from the road in order to check the motorcycle's instruments. Now BMW is joining the party.

The system presented by BMW employs a glass display over the right eye that projects a variety of useful data. The most obvious information would be what is displayed on the typical instrument panel – speed, temperature, gear, fuel level, etc.

Additional information can be programmed to be displayed in BMW's HUD system
Additional information can be programmed to be displayed in BMW's HUD system

It can also be programmed for a lot more information, depending on the rider's needs. Cameras contained within the helmet can deliver a live feed from the rear, effectively substituting for the mirrors. The prototype BMW helmet is also equipped with an integrated mini-computer and speakers, wirelessly controlled via a multicontroller fitted at the left side of the handlebars. Power is provided by two batteries that are contained at the lower rear part of the helmet and can last for five hours on one charge.

BMW foresees even more functions for its HUD, such as connectivity with vehicle-to-vehicle communication systems that will transmit road information in real time from one rider to the other. Such a system could also connect to a future road-to-vehicle communication infrastructure.

According to BMW Motorrad, this system will evolve to production level within the next few years.

Laser light headlamps

The BMW laser light headlamps provide a beam that can reach up to double the range of a conventional headlight without blinding oncoming traffic
The BMW laser light headlamps provide a beam that can reach up to double the range of a conventional headlight without blinding oncoming traffic

Headlights using laser technology are not something new for BMW, as it already applies similar systems in cars like the 7 Series and the i8. The CES prototype is presented on the six-cylinder luxury touring icon, the K 1600 GTL.

The laser light headlamps generate a very bright pure-white light, with a high beam that can reach up to 600 m (1,968 ft) – almost double the range a conventional headlight can achieve – and the an additional benefit of a long service life of this maintenance-free construction.

It would be very interesting to learn about the power consumption of the laser light, but for the time being BMW has not disclosed this information, as the concept system is still in development phase. According to the German company it is still too expensive to be commercialized in motorcycles, but this will probably change as it is incorporated in more automobiles – in the medium term, as BMW puts it.

Source: BMW Motorrad

6 comments
Daishi
I still wish Google glass would have created a helmet version of the platform but the 2 biggest feature requests I have for such platforms are GPS and integrated action/dash cam. I tend to stay off my phone on my motorcycle but I still have to look down at maps/GPS which can be hard to see in direct sunlight. To hear a GPS you also need an integrated bluetooth headset and the good ones aren't terribly cheap. A lot of motorcycles don't have very good places to mount a dash cam and after market helmet cams look kinda funny and alignment can be an issue. I've seen cheap $20 sunglasses that record decent quality video so just building this into a helmet can't be all that expensive. Building a "smart helmet" shouldn't be that much more complicated than a smart watch because there is less need to make everything tiny. Google Glass 2 already does a lot of these things in a small enough form factor that it could nearly be shoved into a helmet without modification. Here is an article from May of 2014 that Google Glass (hardware) only costs $152 to build: http://www.computerworld.com/article/2489363/emerging-technology/google-glass-worth-more-than-the-sum-of-its-parts.html Considering a helmet is about the only application I can think of where I would consider using such a contraption I'll be super disappointed if such a platform doesn't come to helmets soon. The $1500 Skully AR-1 is probably one of the closest but still lacks some of these features.
Mirmillion
Agree, the main problem cannot be cost. Therefore it must be a combination of items such as user adaptability (safety), software reliability, battery life and absolute mass of the helmet. A simple plug-in charging system (not unlike a heated vest) would take care of so-called range anxiety, as would swapable batteries. I carry an extra battery for my phone so, as long as access was convenient, I could carry one for my smart helmet. Insofar as the design is concerned I would prefer the HUD to flip up under the front edge of the helmet, like a sun visor.
Stephen N Russell
Lisc helmet makers to produce said helmet, rather wear this then some plain Jane helmet (minus costs for HUD etc) IF costs can come down & Laser lights for all motorbikes A-Z. For night safety alone, even retro fit to older bikes.
DennisShea
wow!
steveofthenw
I thought of the cyber-lid concept a number of years before. As it is, I've got a Cardo Scalarider mounted for a few years now & it ain't bad. Got it Bluetoothed into a GPS, MP3, & my phone. As a communication tool, it's full duplex & just awesome for speaking wirelessly with a passenger & other riders in a group. All hands-free; just give verbal commands through the mic. Sure, it's strictly audio but a good start down the road to incorporating a monocle & some visual information into the experience. Hopefully the aftermarket (lookin' at you, Cardo) will get there first with something to mount on existing lids.
uksnapper
All very well but how quiet is the helmet,a motorcyclists biggest problem is not a lack of information but noise.