Arc Vector Angel Edition will turn customers into test riders

Arc has announced the Angel Edition of its Vector electric bike. There will only be 10, and the buyers will become part of Arc's development program.

Arc Vector Angel Edition. - Arc

Arc has released details on a new testing program involving 10 of the customers of its upcoming Vector motorcycle. 

The Vector is set for its first deliveries next month (September), and as standard features some unusual design and engineering choices - especially the central hub steering front end. 

Now, Arc has announced that 10 of its electric Vector-buying customers will become a part of a new testing and development program. 

When Arc launched in 2018, it played with the idea of creating technology that would ‘fuse’ bike and rider, so that the rider's senses would be in-tune with the motorcycle; the connection would go beyond the contact of the rider’s glove to the handlebar, of the leathers to the seat, and of the boots to the pegs. 

Arc calls this technology Human Machine Interface (HMI), and they say it would “[enhance] the thrill of the ride, [and have] the capability to save lives.”

The testing program will be called the “Vector AE Program,” for which Arc uses the slogan “For the Guardians.” This is because “AE” stands for “Angel Edition,” and Arc refers to the prospective Vector buyers who will become the test mules for its HMI as “Angels.”

These “Angels” will receive one of 10 “Angel Edition” Vectors, and “Their direct feedback will be incorporated into the system to define and improve it until it is ready for the open road,” Arc says. “Arc Angels will then have their Vector AE motorcycles upgraded and receive beta versions of the HMI system for them to test in a real-world environment. 

“After a further feedback loop and final testing, Angels will be provided with the first production versions free of charge, before the system is opened- up and offered to customers across the Arc motorcycle range.”

The HMI would work through a combination of a specific helmet (Arc is calling it the Zenith) and a haptic jacket (called the Origin). 

Arc says: “The Arc Zenith helmet is inspired by those of fighter pilots. It will feature a connected Heads-Up Display (HUD) which gives the rider critical information and enhances the freedom and wellbeing of their riding experience.”

Additionally, it is working with Hedon on a new helmet that will include navigation, a speedometer, and ancillary graphics. These would be projected into the eyeline of the rider so that they would not have to take their eyes off the road in order to check the speed, for example, or other information. 

Of course, the complicated part with in-helmet HUDs is distraction. The messages need to be clear and visible, but not distract the rider from the road. 

“People ask me if the Heads-Up Display could be distracting, but it will be designed to be the opposite,” says Mark Truman. “The tech frees you and your senses because the distractions have been removed. 

“It allows you to concentrate on the road and your one-ness with the bike, to just enjoy the moment knowing the bike is looking out for you and the information you need is right in front of you. 

“Working with Hedon on this was a natural choice, due to their composite technology, luxurious materials and premium finishes. Together, I believe we’re making the most stylish and high-tech design-forward helmet ever unveiled.”

Arc also says that the Zenith will be the bike’s ‘key’, and will activate the bike’s keyless start. 

The Arc Origin jacket will feature haptic technology. This would mean, Arc says, that “the biker’s shoulder may vibrate to alert of a potential hazard, provide dynamic performance-based feedback or enhance the senses when on a stimulating ride.”

Unusually for a jacket, the Origin would come with adjustable riding modes: Urban (focusing on external dangers, such as traffic); “Sport” (feeds back to the rider information about the bike’s position); “Euphoric” (plays music through the haptic features of the jacket).

This seems like a lot of information to take in while riding. But Mark Truman says: “It’s all about the interaction between the rider and the machine, enhancing the experience. The rider and bike become one.”

The Vector AE will do 0-62mph in 3.1 seconds and reach a top speed of 200kph (124mph). It will weigh 235kg, and have a range of 200 miles “on the open road,” according to Arc. Additionally, it will come with aesthetic features, such as a motor cover with the "AE" logo engraved, as well as carbon fibre side panels and plaques which are unique to each customer.

If you were hoping to join buy a Vector AE and become a part of the testing program for the HMI, you will need to find £110,000 down the back of the sofa.

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