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Home / Technology / How airbag jeans and high-tech vests can make motorcycles safer

How airbag jeans and high-tech vests can make motorcycles safer



But innovations in airbags can help keep motorcyclists safe.

Moses Shahrivar designed his first pair of motorcycle jeans in collaboration with Harley-Davidson Sweden 16 years ago – with a protective leather lining. Now he takes the idea a step further. His company Airbag Inside Sweden AB has designed a prototype pair of super strong jeans that have hidden airbags inside their legs.

The wearer tests the jeans on the bike, and if they fall off the motorcycle, the airbags are released and filled with compressed air, reducing the load on the lower body. The airbag can then be emptied, refilled with gas and put back in the jeans to be used again, Shahrivar explains.

Airbag Inside Sweden AB is in the process of getting the jeans certified in accordance with European health and safety standards and puts them through a series of collision tests.

The company has raised € 1

50,000 ($ 180,000) from the EU to develop the idea and hopes to bring the jeans to market in 2022. The French company CX Air Dynamics has launched a crowdfunding campaign to develop a similar idea.

Bags with airbag

Shahrivar says this is the first time this type of protection will be available for the lower body.

Similar technology for the upper body has been around for more than 20 years. Motorcycle airbag vests can be fitted under a jacket, protecting the chest, neck and sometimes the back.

Early versions were tied to the bike, such as Shahrivar’s jeans, but recently autonomous electronic airbags have been developed, which instead use high-tech sensors to detect when the rider is about to fall.

Among the autonomous airbags on the market is a system created by the French company In & motion.

The company started designing portable airbags for professional skiers in 2011 and has since adapted the technology for motorcyclists. Instead of using a band to trigger airbags, it has created a “brain” consisting of GPS, gyroscope and accelerometer. This box is slightly larger than a smartphone, and is located on the back of any compatible vest.

“The sensors measure movement in real time, and the algorithm is able to detect a fall or an accident to inflate the airbag just before a crash,” In-motion communications manager Anne-Laure Hoegeli told CNN Business.

The box measures the rider’s position 1000 times per second. As soon as an “irreparable imbalance” is detected, the airbag is triggered and inflated to protect the user’s chest, abdomen, neck and spine, Hoegeli explains. This only takes 60 milliseconds.

In & motion makes high-tech airbag vests.

In & motion recently raised € 10 million ($ 12 million) in funding to expand in Europe and the United States.

While the basic operation is similar to other electronic airbags on the market, In & motion has an affordable subscription service, explains Emma Franklin, assistant editor of Motorcycle News. “Their system has in many ways made airbags more accessible to everyday people,” Franklin told CNN Business.

Riders can either buy the box directly for $ 400 or rent it from In & motion for about $ 120 a year. Users in France also have access to a setting that calls emergency services in the event of a crash.

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While airbag protection is now mandatory in MotoGP and at this year’s Dakar Rally, airbags are not a legal requirement for motorcyclists on the road – but Franklin believes they are an important safety innovation.
Richard Frampton, senior lecturer in car safety at Loughborough University in the UK, says that there has not been much academic research on the effectiveness of motorcycle airbag vests, as they are still fairly new to road riders. But he pointed to research from the French Institute of Science and Technology for Transport, Development and Networking, which found that airbag vests provided good protection at speeds below 30 to 40 kilometers per hour (18 to 25 miles per hour).

“From the few papers, case studies and articles I’ve seen, they seem to be a very useful device,” says Frampton.

“I am for them – chest, neck and spine are all areas where you can get life-threatening injuries.”


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