BMW Motorrad introduces concept helmet with heads-up display at CES
Wednesday, January 6, 2016
Posted by: Wes Fleming
The annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nev., is where tech companies debut the next hot new device. Some of them are years away from consumer use, but others could be on the shelf at your local big box store next month.
BMW Motorrad is not a company normally seen in the halls at the CES, but this year they’ve joined the world of high-tech beyond the machines coming out of Berlin by introducing a helmet with a cutting-edge heads-up display. Currently the helmet only works with one motorcycle - a concept K 1600 GTL - but who knows what the future holds.
As motorcyclists know, it takes only a fraction of a second or a brief distraction to end up in a dangerous situation. The BMW heads-up display - available in select BMW cars since 2003 - projects traffic or vehicle information into the rider’s field of view, allowing him (or her) to maintain constant observation of traffic without distraction.
With a view to offering this technology for motorcyclists in the future, BMW conducted a pre-development project to fit a BMW Motorrad helmet with this innovative heads-up display. All displays are completely programmable to provide the best possible support for rider safety, and of course BMW recommends that only information helpful and relevant to the rider’s situation should be displayed at any given moment.
The display options include safety-relevant data, such as information relating to the technical status of the motorcycle (tire pressure, oil level, fuel level, travel speed, current gear selected, speed limit, road sign recognition and warnings of impending danger). Utilizing next-generation vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication, it may be possible to display impending hazard or other safety-related information in real time. Additionally, the heads-up display could allow visualization of content designed to increase rider comfort, such as the planned route along with navigation advice.
The heads-up display-equipped helmet also offers interesting possibilities for elevating the motorcycling experience. For instance, a video camera pointing forwards, located inside the helmet, can record video footage of the journey directly from the helmet. A second camera oriented towards the rear could at some point in the future function as a digital rear-view “mirror.” This technology also enables the visualization of other riders in a group, enabling the rider to see where his companions are at any moment.
The helmet, which is fitted with an integrated mini-computer and loudspeakers, is controlled from the BMW Motorrad multicontroller (aka “Wonder Wheel”). The multicontroller allows the rider to operate the camera and select what information he desires.
The necessary information display technology can be integrated into existing helmets without affecting wearer comfort or rider safety. The operating time of the system - run by two replaceable batteries - is about five hours.
BMW Motorrad wants to develop this innovative technology into production within the next few years, adding a further safety feature to its already wide range of rider equipment.