2014 Ducati Multistrada 1200 S Touring D|Air Revealed
Ducati officially presented the D|Air-compatible version of the Mulitstrada 1200, which claims to be the industry’s first motorcycle wirelessly connected to a wearable airbag. Available only for Europe, the Ducati Multistrada 1200 S Touring D|Air combines onboard sensors and Dainese‘s D|Air Street motorcycle jacket airbags into one integrated safety system.
A joint project between Ducati and Dainese, the Multistrada 1200 S Touring D|Air uses two triple-axis accelerometers mounted to the fork bottoms and another two mounted under the seat with a D|Air electronic control unit. The accelerometers detect potential crash scenarios and determines whether airbags need to be deployed.
If necessary, the D|Air ECU sends a signal to the rider’s D|Air Street jacket to deploy its airbag to provide added protection to the back, chest and collarbone. The entire process takes 45 milliseconds, including 25 ms for the accelerometer algorithm to decide airbags are required and another 20 ms for the airbags to fully inflate.
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The accelerometers can recognize impacts from the front, sides or rear, as well as low-side scenarios. The system also recognizes when an airbag is unnecessary such as a rider losing balance at low speeds or the Multistrada tipping over while parked.
According to Ducati, the D|Air Street reduces the energy of impact transferred to a rider’s body by 72% compared to a standard back protector and 89% compared to a chest protector. The system can be paired with two different D|Air Street jackets, providing protection for both a rider and a passenger.
The D|Air Street jacket (sold separately) is made of Gore-Tex fabric and includes a detachable thermal lining. A pair of 12-liter high-pressure airbags are integrated into the lining along with two “cold” technology gas generators to inflate them. The D|Air system is powered by a USB-charged battery pack that Ducati says offers 30 hours of use and can be fully charged in five hours. The airbag system adds about 3.3 pounds to the jacket’s weight. Dainese says the jackets require a maintenance check every 24 months.
The onboard components add about 2.2 pounds of weight, including the accelerometers and the additional LED display located above the Multistrada’s regular instruments. The green Rider and Passenger LEDs light up to show when a jacket is connected, and flash when a malfunction is detected or there is a problem with the connection. A center yellow D|Air LED lights up to indicate an error with the system or if the batteries in the jackets are running low.
The Multistrada’s round dot-matrix secondary display also displays the jackets’ battery levels and indicates when a maintenance check is required.
At the moment, the Ducati Multistrada 1200 S Touring D|Air is only offered in Europe, where it will arrive in showrooms in May. Pricing is set at €20990 (US$29,000), a premium of €700 (US$967) over a regular Multistrada 1200 S Touring. D|Air Street jackets are not included.
Riders of other motorcycles and brands are out of luck for now, though Dainese says it plans to make the technology available to other manufacturers.