More than a year ago, sport protection company In&motion debuted an airbag vest for skiers that was also named as a CES 2016 Innovation Awards Honoree. For CES 2017, the company has applied its airbag technology for motorcyclists and, again, captured this year’s Innovation Award.
While technologies such as visibility-enhancing brake lights go a long way in city traffic, airbags for motorcyclists would give a rider bodily protection regardless of the situation.
French startup In&motion now plans to bring airbag vests to motorcyclists all over with the Smart Moto Airbag Vest. Sure, gear manufacturers like Dainese have suits and jackets with airbag technology already on the market for $2,500, but In&motion wants to make such technology more accessible by cutting the cost nearly in half.
Rather than relying on a tether-based system to deploy the airbag should the rider become separated from his or her bike, In&motion’s device uses electronic sensors to analyze the movements and detect a crash. In&motion says that it chose this route because it enables a greater freedom of movement on and off the bike. The sensor package is removable (for charging purposes) and sits in a back protector.
The airbag vest can also be worn inside most existing jackets, provided that there is enough room for the vest. This could prove to be an issue for those with gear that fits snuggly, but In&motion assured us that most riders will face no issues.
In&motion recently launched a campaign it calls AirbagRevolution, which aims to gather feedback from 500 motorcycle riders scattered across Europe. This will allow the company to improve upon the alpha version of the vest before the retail version hits shelves — those interested can sign up at this website.
“Thanks to the experience acquired over the last years, we’ve already developed an alpha version of the airbag for motorcycles users,” said Rémi Thomas, CEO of In&motion. “In the meantime, we’ve been working with several experts in order to endorse the proposed solution. However, as for our previous projects, we really want to integrate ideas, comments, or suggestions from our future users. The goal is to offer a product conceived for and by bikers.”
Those hesitant to test an early version of a protection product might be comforted to know that In&motion’s vest is already being worn by MotoGP professionals, such as Bradley Smith of the Monster Yamaha Tech3 team, during the 2016 season. The company has yet to reveal a launch window for the vest, but given it’s still in the process of testing the alpha version, it likely won’t hit shelves for quite some time.