Will we soon have airbags fitted as standard in our bike jackets? We talk to the brains behind Dainese’s D-Air to see how the technology is developing.
Following the lead of the automotive industry is nothing new in motorcycling. Traction control and anti-locking brake systems are just two prime examples of how car technology filters down, so the latest developments in motorcycle airbag protection should come as no surprise.
With every mass-produced car now required by law to provide a driver’s airbag, there have been various stories in the press of the same happening with bikes. However, Honda’s first attempt with what appears to be a massive inflatable anus appearing from just below the Goldwing’s headstock was the first and last example we’ve seen of it.
But it’s the clothing world that looks set to take up the challenge. We’ve all seen Lorenzo staggering and swaggering out of the Brno gravel trap puffed up like an American footballer and we’ve also seen several new manufacturers launching airbag waistcoats and suchlike. But are we really any nearer to systems that actually work for road riders?
Dainese’s D-Air boffin, Alessandro Bellati explains: “The system that we’ve been developing over the last six years started with the external airbag worn by Marco (Simoncelli) and has progressed to the suits that Rossi and Lorenzo now wear with the integral system. We’ve been working very hard to perfect D-Air.
At the moment we’re very happy with the way it works on the racetrack, but we’re still a little way off making it ideal for road users. The biggest problem is the difference between a racetrack crash and a road accident. With our factory race suits, we have a GPS unit built in that knows where the rider is in relation to the track and only ‘arms’ when he goes on circuit to prevent accidental triggering. The sensors also react to abnormality in rider movement and while the system can activate in 50 milliseconds, protecting the rider in a typical track crash, it is still too slow for the sudden impact of hitting a road hazard. We are still working on various technologies but at the moment, there would need to be a device installed on the motorcycle and that will only add to the expense. We think in the future we will have a suitable solution, but it’s still a little way off.”
Having already invested over one million Euros in development, you can expect the Italian firm to get it right. Just not quite yet anyway…
Become a fan of Visordown
Follow us on twitter
Other Immediate Media Sites
Our eCommerce Platform
© Immediate Media Company Ltd 2012. This website is owned and published by Immediate Media Company Limited. www.immediatemedia.co.uk