January 25, 2008 More than 10 years in the making, the Dainese D-Air Racing system is a new type of rider protection technology that uses a series of accelerometers and electronically operated rate gyros to deploy an airbag mounted in the aerodynamic hump of a leather racing suit when things go wrong on the racetrack. Taking only 40 milliseconds to trigger, the system provides protection for the neck, shoulder and collarbone, cushioning the falling rider before they hit the ground. Airbags have recently appeared into the world of motorcycles with examples like Honda’s airbag-equipped Goldwing and ripcord-operated inflating jackets from Motoair and Hit-Air, which are triggered by a sudden unplanned separation of bike and rider. The difference with the Dainese system - which is currently aimed specifically at the racing environment - is that it does not require any connection to the motorcycle, kicking-in during front low-side, back lowside or high-side falls in recognition of the fact that riders often hit the ground while still on their bikes.
According to Dainese the development of the decision-making hardware and software alone required three years, with data gleaned from trials used to perfect the trigger signal algorithm which decides when to deploy the gas inflated airbag.
Used for the first time ever during the Grand Prix race in Valencia, the system is under trial by Dainese-sponsored riders Simone Giorgi, Michael Ranseder and Marco Simoncelli in the 125 cc and 250 cc classes and has been put through its paces in race and practice crashes.
For more, including a video of the system in action, visit BikerGene.