BMW’s Smart Jacket
BMW is known for somewhat radical designs (this goes especially for its new lineup of cars with massive grilles), but some of its most interesting recent innovations aren’t to be found in its cars or bikes.
Besides the ever-growing offering of cars and motorcycles, the Bavarian company also sells high-quality riding gear. When I was 17 years old, I was amazed by the BMW Rallye jacket, which I considered to be the coolest, and highest quality piece on the market. And anno 2021, BMW continues to lead the pack, combining the latest safety tech with convenient features such as wireless charging and synched lighting systems.
The Definition CE 04 jacket matches its fully electric concept bike, which is BMW’s 2021 idea of what urban commuting looks like. Apart from its cool looks, this breathable parka is waterproof and includes flexible armor.
But here’s the funkiest part: the bike talks to the jacket via a Bluetooth connection, and mirrors operations such as braking, indicating and turning. The jacket lights up red when slamming the brakes, and turning signals reflect on the appropriate side of the jacket.
Next to this, the jacket charges your cellphone through wireless inductive charging while you are riding. Juicing up the jacket is really simple – just connect the built-in powerbank to a power outlet and voilà!
It gets much cooler than a smart jacket. Remember Elon Musk’s attempt to wire up a monkey to play video games with its mind?
Well, Honda is trying to develop something similar. In a patent it filed in late 2020, the Japanese firm talks about a ‘’brain-machine-interface’’ or BMI. According to Rideapart.com, Honda is looking to hook up certain riding aids on modern sportbikes to the brain. ‘’Coupled with sensors that non-invasively monitor your brainwaves, the general idea is that Honda vehicles equipped with BMI will behave in the ways that you intend them to behave’’.
Honda thinks that through machine learning techniques, it could become easier for beginning motorcyclists to start to know the bike inside out. By correcting practical driving errors, BMI helps to improve the ride, and reduce the risk of a serious crash.
And with the ongoing advancements in machine learning technology, the system is also said to be adapting to improving driver skill, so more experienced drivers won’t receive the same amount of electronic compensation from the bike as a novice.
And if you think that driving a motorcycle with your brain is something for the 22nd century, the truth is that investment and research in this field is advancing very quickly, with some of the world’s leading automotive companies investing heavily in integrating BMI in autonomous vehicles.
As Rideapart’s Janaki Jitchotvisut says: We can’t all be Marc Márquez, but Honda wants to help.