BMW, Alpinestars bring airbag to motorbikes

April 27, 2015 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
In accidents, Motorbikers often have a bad hand of cards, even if the crash does not involve a collision with another vehicle. To better the survival chances, BMW cooperates with Alpinestars, an Italian manufacturer of protective motorbike gear. Their first product will be an waistcoat with integrated airbag, jointly developed by both partners.

The airbag waistcoat is based by an Alpinestars invention: A self-contained street airbag system that works independently of the vehicle. Earlier, the company has developed an electronic airbag system that incorporates a data logging module and a dual-charge inflation module. This system is being used in several motorbike chamiponships.

Like this professional system, the airbag waistcoat announced by BMW Motorrad and Alpinestars contains all the sensors and electronic control units required to detect a crash and ignite the airbag. Since no connection to the bike is needed, the waistcoat can be used “with any bike, on any surface, at any time”, as BMW Motorrad states in a press release. Likewise, no reconfiguration or bike-to-rider setup is required if the driver changes from one vehicle to the other. In particular, no electronic pairing is necessary. Since the sensors are located inside the waistcoat, the airbag activates without the need for a triggering wireless signal from the bike.

In the case of an accident, the waistcoat protects the entire upper body including shoulders, back and frontal torso, BMW said.