Earlier this week, BMW revealed a radical new concept for motorcycling in the future, and one thing was notably absent: safety gear. The model riding the concept was wearing no helmet of any kind and her riding suit was completely devoid of any armor or padding.
BMW’s vision is apparently plucked from the future roads of 2116, but it’s hard to fathom a world where helmets and safety gear don’t exist. BMW Motorrad boss Stephan Schadler explained that due to advancements in vehicle safety, these riders won’t need such gear in the future — simply because they won’t crash.
“[With] what we’re working on now with self-driving cars, we have to be 100 percent sure that they won’t crash,” he said. “In the same way we have to be confident with the technologies that keep cars from crashing, we’re confident that our riders will be as safe as well.”
The BMW Motorrad Vision Next 100 Concept features a self-balancing gyroscope that keeps the bike level and prevents it from falling over, both while riding, and when stationary. That’s one part of the puzzle for preventing rider injury.
In addition, the bike comes with a visor that features BMW’s Digital Assistant, which will warn riders of obstacles and give them the ideal riding line on the road, which will also help prevent accidents. BMW’s Digital Assistant can also tell if you’re following its guidance and can automatically correct your course as well.
How this would work to prevent accidents from potholes, weather, road conditions or wildlife is yet to be explained.
Finally, Schadler mentioned that it’s very likely that vehicles in the future will be in constant communication with each other, meaning cars and bikes can communicate to each other and the infrastructure to prevent crashes before they happen.
He was clear, however, that helmets in today are a requirement that changes by state, and that removing helmets entirely everywhere would be a huge and difficult shift, but one that could be possible with the right technology.
While much attention lately has been spent on describing how autonomous cars will change the world of driving, it’s clear that BMW envisions this technology to help the world of motorcycles as well.
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