BMW & Bell/360fly Unveil Smart Helmets at CES

1/11/2016

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The CES (Consumer Electronics Show) held in Las Vegas every year is typically known for new gadget unveils by major electronics companies like LG, Samsung, Google, Apple, etc. This year, however, two new advances in motorcycle safety technology surprisingly stole much of the media’s attention. As you’ve probably observed by now, motorcycle protection hasn’t seen the similar advancement as the bikes. So when we saw both BMW and Bell/Fly360 unveil electronic aiding helmets, we were just as excited, and curious as anyone.

Now, both products are fairly different than each other, but both are unique and hype-worthy in their own right.

Bell & 360fly "Smart" Helmet

Bell was the first to start leaking information on their new collaboration with action-camera newcomer Fly360 showcasing both a street and dirt helmet with a built in camera. Bell and Fly360’s initial objectives are/were to create unrivaled video capturing and interactive sharing, featuring GPS info, and built in Wifi and Bluetooth.

However, plans to better utilize this technology is coming soon. According to a press release, the two companies have some impressive and potentially lifesaving features in the works:

Bell 360Fly helmet

• AutoPilot action tracking – Allows users to track and follow the main subjects in their
videos, making it easy to create dynamic edits with the rider at the center of it all.
• Collision Avoidance Alert – Senses and automatically notifies the rider of potential
oncoming dangers that are outside the rider’s natural field of vision
• Live Streaming -- For professional, commercial or advanced users looking to live stream
360-degree video, the integrated camera pairs with its Micro-HDMI accessory base (sold
separately) and is able to output a real-time full 360-degree HD video stream

We are told there are still a few months of testing the Collision Avoidance Alert, but we should expect the technology to make its way to the consumers in late 2016.

BMW's H.U.D. Concept Helmet

You’re not alone if you were surprised to see BMW unveil a motorcycle helmet at CES, however the German motorcycle company has developed a prototype that is easily the best stab at heads up display (H.U.D) in a riding helmet. The idea of H.U.D. helmets has been kicked around for some time, and even tried to be put into practice in a consumer version (Skully), but BMW’s rendition may be our best bet based on the interactive display at CES.

The information is displayed in the corner of your field of view, not inhibiting your vision or attention, yet still prominent enough to be effective. The obvious feature in the H.U.D. is speed; however map information, construction, road alerts and even calling capabilities have been integrated into the system. There’s no word on an actual release date, and apparently BMW is having issues configuring mobile smart phone compatibility, but we’re sure those clever engineers who designed the boxer engine can figure it out.

If we could make changes with the wave of a magic wand, we’d wish for the two concepts to be integrated, giving you the benefits of both. However, magic wand or not, it is still impressive to see what both have come up with and we certainly commend them for making strides at improving rider safety. At the end of the day, saving riders lives and making motorcycling safer and more appealing is what it’s all about!