Look Out, Tesla, Here Comes BMW

The BMW Motorrad VISION NEXT 100 anticipates the future of motorcycle safety. Using glasses instead of helmets, full balance without any aid, BMW is taking on the road safety technology to a whole different level.

Recently in Los Angeles, BMW unveiled its newest concept, the Motorrad VISION NEXT 100 at the BMW Group Future Experience.

The motorcycle provides my escape from everyday life. From the moment I climb on board, I experience nothing but absolute freedom. The Great Escape,” Edgar Heinrich, head of BMW Motorrad design said.

The 100 boasts safety features so advanced, that BWM says you won’t need a helmet or special protective clothing. With what BMW calls its “digital companion”, linked with BW’s version of riding gear, it ensures the highest level of safety imaginable. These digital tools work in the background and will assist automatically when needed, or as needed by the rider’s choice.

It was important to us that the analog riding experience would remain undisturbed. The display and operating concept acts so discreetly that it creates a natural and familiar movement,” head of design and customer experience Holger Hampf stated. “When we develop a motorcycle, we are usually thinking around five to ten years in the future, so taking a look further into the future was especially exciting for us and highly appealing.”

The new motorcycle features tires with a dampening function that actively change to suit the terrain. From here the frame is designed to follow the tires. What this mean is that with the help of the BMW Flex-frame technology, when the handlebars are moved, the entire frame changes it shape to help with the directional change. Upon looking at the engine, it appears to be your normal V-Twin type engine that is common on most bikes. When you start moving, however, the engine block shifts its position to optimize for greater weather protection and aerodynamics– something never seen in motorcycle technology ever before.

Now onto the fun stuff. This bike doesn’t need a stand! BMW has added an assistance system that always ensures the proper balance. This feature allows the bike to remain upright not only when at a standstill, but when the bike is in motion. This makes the level of rider safety shoot to a whole new platform, and also offers the beginning rider a safer trial period.

BMW also added a really awesome rider feature to this bike: a pair of wearable data glasses. These glasses not only offer protection from wind and rain, but keep the motorcycle’s other safety systems fully aware of the route, and projects relevant data directly to the rider’s field of view. If the glasses are facing straight ahead of the bike, no data is displayed, so that the rider’s view isn’t obstructed. Only in instances where the rider requests information does it become viewable in the glasses. When this request happens, the information pops up in the bottom of the glasses, so the rider can still see what is going on in front of him. The display closely mimics that of an airplane cockpit. It shows the current angle of lean and the ideal line. This gives the rider more opportunity to correct it, but if the rider fails to do so in a determined amount of time, the bike does it automatically.

When the rider tilts the glasses beyond the normal point of view, a control menu pops up, allowing choices by simple finger gestures. Lowering the field of view even more, a map opens up, and shows the wearer his selected route.

BMW didn’t stop at just outrageous bike features; they went above and beyond with “smart” rider clothing. Instead of matching clothing with weather conditions and duration of the ride, BMW has made specially designed weather-proof clothing for riders of the NEXT 100. Complete with A/C function that allows the rider to either cool or heat himself as needed, even the gear for the BMW NEXT 100 is technologically advanced. The neck area of the clothing can be filled with air at higher speeds, relieving stress on the spine and increasing comfort. Included vibrating elements in the arms and legs of the clothing offer navigational signals and indicates when the maximum angle of tilt is reached. While the clothes are definitely a plus, BWM stresses that with the rider safety features on the bike alone, the safety clothing is not needed.

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