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A Safer Ride, with a Smarter Motorcycle Helmet

November 26, 2014 - 5 Comments

Connecting Dark Assets: An ongoing series on how the Internet of Everything is transforming the ways in which we live, work, play, and learn.

Racing down the wide, open highway on a beautifully crafted motorcycle is one of life’s most exhilarating rushes. At least I used to think so, before my wife talked me into taking up safer pastimes.

But Internet of Everything (IoE) technologies may be offering me a new lease on motorcycling. A new product called the Skully AR-1 is being billed as “The World’s Smartest Motorcycle Helmet.” And who am I to argue?

The AR-1 represents exactly the kind of convergence of technologies that will continue to drive new experiences, as IoE connects people, process, data, and things in startling new ways. By infusing video sensors in the back of the helmet, it can monitor the traffic in a driver’s traditional blind spots. But the real magic is in how such sensors interact with other innovations, including smart phones, GPS, Bluetooth, high-speed microprocessors, and heads-up displays.

Put it all together and the rider knows exactly where he or she is going and what is around them at any given moment. They can also access all sorts of other key information during the ride, such as traffic and weather. If any potential threats arise along the way, riders are instantly informed, before any harm results.

All of this information is projected directly onto the face screen. Just as F16 pilots see critical data in the thick of combat — without taking their eyes off the action — so too can motorcycle riders communicate and be informed in real time.

IoE is changing just about, well, everything, and motorcycling is no exception. People, process, data, and things coming together — even on the Pacific Coast Highway at 60 miles per hour under a brilliant sunset. Where you may just find me, with an AR-1 on my head, and my wife on the back seat … well, probably not.

As for the rest of you, have a safe and connected ride.


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  1. I have been a daily transportation motorcyclist for more than 30 years, as well as a practicing motojournalist.

    The safest motorcycle helmets are the ones that provide proper, tested ability to absorb foreseeable impacts, comfort, a wide field of vision, and the lowest sound pressure levels, which allow the motorcyclist to concentrate on the job of identifying and reacting to actual, real time safety threats.

    While I appreciate the technological achievement that the Scully represents, my experience with motorcyclists and motorcycle crash data suggests that additional information competing for the attention of the motorcyclist will only have the net effect of diminishing the rider’s available attention and hence, safety performance. All forms of ‘infotainment’ on motorcycles have similar effects. Performance motorcycling is a 100% focused, immersive experience. If additional information is required, the time to obtain it is when the stands are on the pavement.

    Introduction of infotainment and telematics systems into 4 wheeled vehicles have caused a rapid rise in the number of single vehicle accidents and high speed impacts where drivers never reacted to avoidable obstacles. If it’s a bad idea in cars, it’s a worse idea on bikes.

  2. Super! I this is good news for riders and even motorists at large.I hope you will make less expensive ones for bicycle riders for competitions and for those who use it as their personal means of transport.

    • Appreciate your enthusiasm Emmanuel! As these technologies continue to develop, the price starts to fall and we will start to see the reduction in the cost of these related items.

  3. Sounds like a really innovative solution. But do you think this idea is sustainable for the long-term?

  4. Thought provoking article, lacking a little depth of factual context. Headline claim of safety should be more thoroughly quantified. How many accidents are attributable to blind spots? Really intuitive this aspect will add value.

    Conversely how many accidents are due to drivers / riders multi tasking? Is more real time data and activities adding to safety?