California is known for having a booming tech industry, and new ideas often extend to automobiles and motorcycles. To be sure, connected cars and motorcycles used to be fictions of the future, but they’re slowly becoming a reality on streets throughout the state. When it comes to motorcycles, the California-based company Zero Motorcycles, according to a recent report from Information Week, was the first to create a prototype for a connected motorcycle (back in 2006). Now, the company is thinking more carefully about motorcycle safety and the ways in which the Internet of Things (IoT) might be able to help prevent deadly motorcycle accidents.
Connecting Riders to Improve Safety
As the article emphasizes, “connected motorcycles may sound cool, but researchers are delving into more serious aspects of them.” For instance, dedicated short-range communications (DSRC) applications might be able to reduce the number of injuries and fatalities that occur in motorcycle accidents. If connected motorcycles become the norm, riders who have been involved in an accident can quickly reach out for assistance. And some applications might even be able to connect riders involved in collisions immediately with emergency medical responders.
Up until recently, connected motorcycles weren’t common like connected cars. In 2013, however, Zero Motorcycles produced a mobile app that allowed riders to communicate via Bluetooth, and it also allowed the company to diagnose mechanical problems with a bike while being hundreds—or even thousands—of miles away. This kind of connectivity has recently been added to Zero’s lightweight electric bikes. As a result, according to the director of consumer experience at the company, “our bikes’ owners can communicate with us from anywhere in the world using our mobile application and its connection.”
And what does such connectivity produce? When it comes to traffic collisions, “the result is a 50% faster response than before for emergency service.” Zero and other motorcycles companies also hope to add vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) technology to bikes in the near future, allowing riders’ bikes to communicate with one another. The goal of V2V, ultimately, is “to prevent accidents,” and such technology could be mandatory as early as 2017.
New Age of Smart Helmets
In addition to connected vehicles, technology is also improving the safety of motorcycle helmets. The smart helmet entered into its first stages of development in 2013, and the owners of the Skully AR-1 smart helmet expect to delivery the first batch of orders by December of this year. What is a smart helmet?
Smart helmets provide riders with “full situational awareness with GPS navigation, a blind-spot camera view, and transparent heads-up display (HUD)” With these tools, the helmets deliver essential information to motorcyclists without causing distractions. And as many of us know, distracted driving (or, in this case riding) can quickly lead to a deadly auto accident. In addition to preventing crashes, smart helmets can also be synced with the bike’s fuel tank, for instance, to alert the rider that she or he needs to stop for gas.
Although connected motorcycles and smart helmets aren’t yet the norm, Californians who are in the process of developing these products hope that they’ll ultimately lead to a drastic reduction in the number of motorcycle accident injuries and fatalities on our roads each year. In the meantime, if you or someone you love suffered serious injuries in a motorcycle accident, you should contact an experienced San Diego motorcycle accident lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your case.
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