BMW working on “smart helmet”

BMW has revealed they’re working on a smart helmet with HUD technology.

The announcement of the new equipment came at the Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show this week, and it’s a bold step forward for the company. Of course, this technology has been around for a while now; Skully’s smart helmet got a lot of hype when they were raising funds, and other companies have been working on it as well.

However, none of those companies are as big as BMW, and they don’t have the history of integrating new technology (like ABS) into a historically stodgy motorcycle industry. BMW has a long history of being innovators, and if anyone can popularize smart helmets, it’s them. It certainly helps that the technology is very appealing to the demographic who buys Beemers.

The HUD is displayed over the rider's right eye.
The HUD is displayed over the rider’s right eye.

BMW’s other advantage is their ability to integrate the smart helmet with their vehicle-to-vehicle communication system they are developing, which could warn you of crashes or other dangers ahead. From the information they’ve given us so far, the helmet will have a display over your right eye with information like your speed or what gear you’re in. BMW’s photo also shows a warning of a construction zone, which implies some sort of GPS integration, although BMW hasn’t stated that yet.

The helmet is controlled from the left handlebar, meaning BMW owners now have even more buttons and switches to control if they buy the helmet. The helmet’s built-in computer is powered by two batteries with a lifespan of about five hours. That’s not very long from a touring perspective, but the batteries are able to be swapped out, so if you want to pull an Iron Butt, you can just bring along extras.


GALLERY

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9 thoughts on “BMW working on “smart helmet””

  1. Warning of roadwork? Really?? The highway dept’s in the US (and usually Canada) give so much warning that you’d have to be asleep to not know construction is ahead. And if its emergency roadwork, it would never make it into a database in time to matter. And speed and gear display? Oh come on. If you need HUD to tell you speed and gear position, just give up riding. It’s tech for tech’s sake.

  2. I hope it’s a bolt/clip on system. Different manufacturers make different types/shaped helmets for a reason. One (smart) helmet for all won’t work. Revu (rearview built in) helmets were a great idea but the helmet itself wasn’t good.

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