In the dark, Darren Hayley's night vision system improves visibility beyond what a conventional headlamp can provide
Back in June this year, we had speculated that the 2010 Kawasaki 1400GTR might get ‘night vision’ technology, which is already being fitted to some high-end cars. Now while that hasn’t happened, 34-year-old Darren Haley – who works at Flir, a leader in thermal imaging technology – has prepared his own ‘night vision’ system for his BMW R1150GS.
Haley’s system consists of an infrared camera mounted above the bike’s right turn indicator (see pic above), which feeds its video stream on to the on-board GPS unit’s screen. In the dark, the camera picks up objects that can’t be seen with the naked eye and which the bike’s headlamp fails to reveal. ‘I use it like I would a rear-view or side-view mirror. The display allows you to see the lines of the road without having to look at oncoming cars’ headlights,’ says Haley. Indeed, used judiciously, the infrared camera-based night vision system might be an invaluable safety feature on bikes.
The camera used on Haley’s system is shockproof and weatherproof, though the GPS unit’s display has to be protected from bad weather. Still, that can’t be an insurmountable challenge and Haley continues to develop and refine the system. He thinks a mainstream manufacturer could produce this system and sell it for less than $2,000. We think it’s a brilliant idea and we hope some motorcycle manufacturer likes it, picks it up and develops it further.