Friday, April 17, 2009

BMW ConnectedRide: Motorcycle rider safety project

Look at the picture on the left, then the one on the right. That's the kind of accident which BMW's ConnectedRide system may be able to prevent...
Pics: Motoblog

BMW Motorrad are working on boosting motorcycle rider safety with their ‘ConnectedRide’ research project, which aims to utilise vehicle-to-vehicle communication technology to lessen the possibility of collisions, especially on traffic intersections.

According to some European studies, right-of-way violations on busy intersections and traffic junctions are the biggest cause of accidents where motorcycles are involved. Many car and SUV drivers simply assume that bikers have to give way because in a car-motorcycle collision, it’s always the biker who ends up getting severely injured.

BMW’s ConnectedRide system essentially works as a well networked safety assistant. Via a WiFi connection, this system process inputs from a GPS navigation system and from other similarly equipped cars and motorcycles. Then, it matches vehicle speed with traffic intersections on the way and constantly computes the probability of a collision with other vehicles in the vicinity.

When the ConnectedRide system foresees a collision happening, it issues audio-visual warnings to the motorcyclist(s) (and/or driver(s) with ConnectDrive equipped cars). The system also automatically increases headlamp intensity, activates additional LED warning lights and even activates the horn. The system sounds promising – at least for certain types of riders and drivers, who usually aren’t attentive enough on the road. However, the ConnectedRide system is still in the testing phase and may not be ready for use on production motorcycles and cars for another year or two.

This video shows what BMW's ConnectedRide system is meant to accomplish. The talky bits are all in German but still, you get a fair idea of how the system might work...

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