BMW revealed a motorcycle helmet concept with heads-up display technology at the Consumer Electronics Show. BMW says it hopes to bring the technology to market “within the next few years.”
The challenge for HUD technology is to display information onto the rider’s field of view without creating a distraction, or at least, being less of a distraction than glancing down to a motorcycle’s built-in instrument displays. BMW’s solution is to position a clear display screen in front of the wearer’s right eye. The helmet can then project information such as vehicle speed and warnings about impending hazards.
The display can be programmed to show information about the motorcycle such as tire pressure, oil and fuel levels, and the selected gear. The technology can also show data from the environment, such as the legal speed limit, traffic conditions and road construction sites.
The helmet is fitted with a mini-computer to process data and speakers to provide audio cues. The technology can also be adapted to include cameras mounted to the front and the rear of the helmet which can be used to record video or, in the case of the rear camera, turn the display into a digital rear-view mirror. The entire interface can be controlled via BMW’s multicontroller hardware which is located on the left handlebar of some of its motorcycles. All of the electronics are powered by a pair of replaceable batteries with BMW claiming a five hour operating time.
BMW envisions being able to adapt this technology so it can be installed on other helmets without affecting the helmet’s safety features or rider comfort. It remains to be seen whether this technology will meet DOT safety standards, especially considering BMW’s existing helmets are not DOT certified.