Technologies for Increased Motorcycle Safety
BMW Motorrad presents concepts for motorcycle laser light and helmet with head-up display.
See and be seen has always been one of the central axioms of safe motorcycling, for which reason BMW Motorrad has long since dedicated itself to the continued development and optimisation of motorcycle lighting units. Over the years, this has seen the introduction of adaptive headlights for riding in curves, LED daytime running light and dynamic brake light in BMW motorcycles. And like so often, the development was able to benefit from synergy effects with BMW automobiles.
In the case of the K 1600 GTL concept vehicle, the BMW Motorrad laser light is derived from a design from the automobile division of the BMW Group. The innovative laser technology is already available in the new BMW 7 Series as well as in the BMW i8. BMW Motorrad has now adapted this technology – which is as established as it is forward-looking – for motorcycling applications.
Not only do laser light headlamps generate a particularly bright and pure-white light, but they even achieve a high-beam range of up to 600 metres, which is double that of conventional headlights. The safety of night-time riding has now increased significantly as a result, due not only to the increased range but also to the precise illumination of the road. Moreover, the laser technology has a very long service life, thanks to its compact, robust and maintenance-free construction.
BMW Motorrad laser light has been incorporated in the K 1600 GTL concept vehicle as a feasibility test. BMW Motorrad is testing the use of this headlamp technology in series vehicles in the course of its preliminary development. At the moment, the technology is still too cost-intensive for use in motorcycles. However, it is expected that the economies of scale resulting from their large-scale use in the automobile industry will result in a price structure with a clear downward trend. Its use in motorcycles could might then be imaginable in the medium term.
In road traffic, it only takes a fraction of a second or a brief distraction to put the rider in a dangerous situation. In 2003, BMW became the first European automobile manufacturer to introduce a head-up display as optional equipment for BMW automobiles.
The BMW head-up display projects necessary or desirable traffic or vehicle information directly into the rider’s field of view, allowing him to maintain constant observation of the traffic on the road, with no distraction. This would appear even more important with motorcycles than it is with cars, because it can sometimes only take a brief visual distraction to put the rider in a critical road situation.
With a view to offering this technology in motorcycles of the future, a pre-development process was conducted in which a BMW Motorrad helmet was fitted with an innovative head-up display function. This enables the projection of data directly into the rider’s field of view. This means that the rider no longer has to glance at the instrument panel and he is able to concentrate fully and without distraction on the road traffic.
All displays are freely programmable; ideally, to provide the best-possible support for rider safety, only information that is helpful and relevant to the current situation should be displayed to the rider at any given moment.