Tuesday, 25 January 2011

This sounds like a good idea....not

This article from today's BBC News.......I'm hoping I stop riding before this lot becomes mandatory

"Motorbikes 'to get safe driving aids'
Motorbikes could soon be sporting collision detection and other safety features more usually found on cars
Research is testing ways to put these systems on motor bikes and how best to alert riders to dangers on the road.

The systems tested include warnings about speed limits, the tightness of road bends and information about other vehicles to aid lane-changing.

The first bike-based safety systems could be appearing on motor bikes within two years, say researchers.

Proof of concept tests on the Saferider systems, as they are known, have been carried out in simulators and on road bikes by the Motor Industry Research Association (Mira), which acts as a testing and innovation centre for car makers.

"Saferider takes the driver safety systems that are becoming standard on cars and tries to adapt them to the unique needs of motorcyclists," said Jonathan Moore, an advanced engineering consultant at Mira, involved in the Saferider project.

Statistics gathered by Mira suggest that about 22% of all road accident fatalities involve bike riders and it is the only mode of transport which is seeing a rise in the number of deaths.

Mr Moore said making safety systems on motor bikes useful was "challenging" because of all the distractions to which riders are subjected.

"One of the most difficult things is getting the rider's attention," he said. "There's a high level of ambient noise and vibration to deal with."

The Saferider system allows motorcyclists to send SOS alerts and warns of potential hazards. Video courtesy of Saferider developer, Mira.

Bubble wrap

Mira has been investigating how to use haptic, tactile feedback systems to safely get the attention of riders and warn them about other vehicles, prepare them for the road ahead or give help at junctions.

Mira engineers outfitted a Yamaha Tenere and a Triumph Sprint with the safety systems so they could be tried out on a test track.

The systems include laser scanners, haptic handles and gloves, a vibrating seat, lights, smart helmet cameras and radar as well as a pannier full of the electronics that analyse data gathered by the sensors and pump out warnings.

One system tested works out if riders are travelling too fast to negotiate upcoming bends. Mira has developed software that acts as a "co-pilot" which, with the help of a digital map, knows what speed they should be travelling to make it round a bend.

Mr Moore said one system under test based around radar constantly monitors the blind spots around and behind riders to create a safety "bubble" around a bike. This helps because vehicles behind or to one side of a bike can be hard to spot because vibration means images in wing mirrors are difficult to make out.

"We put a motor in the cheek pad of the helmet so if you do not notice the object it will vibrate and give you a tactile warning that there's something to the right or left," said Mr Moore.

The system can also help give a rider information about traffic further behind in adjoining lanes to help with over-taking or lane-changing.

Motorbike collision detection systems developed by Mira warn a rider about an imminent impact and let them take action by slow sharply down or, in the case of a vehicle travelling in the same direction as the bike, following it while slowing.

The safety systems could be a boon to younger bike riders.

"They do not give the attention to the road they should or have the experience to deal with problems," said Mr Moore.

The prototypes demonstrated by Mira showed it was feasible to fit such safety systems on motor bikes, said Mr Moore. He speculated that manufacturers would start to put them on bikes within the next 18 months to two years."