It very much looks like HUDs (Heads up Displays) for helmets are going to become ‘a thing’ in 2016. They’re already available of course – you can already find the BikeHUD on sale at Amazon which are apparently a pretty decent first attempt – but there’re other more mainstream moves afoot.
First there was the Skully AR1 which is scheduled to ship in summer ’16. And now BMW Motorrad has shown its first HUD helmet prototype off.
BMWs version seems a little less ambitious than Skully’s at first glance. It has all the usual features we’d expect to be included, the main one being the display glass sitting in front of the rider’s right eye. As you can see by the mockup display below, that shows info such as speed, revs, gear etc. plus there;s the promise of other goodies too including sat nav guidance and accident notifications.
But the interesting thing about BMWs system, which could well give it an advantage in the marketplace, is the fact because they’re being developed effectively in-house, that could potentially give their system access to all the tech installed on-board on BMW machines. Meaning they could feasibly tap into all the other data being churned out by the onboard ECU and computers including fuel levels, tyre pressures, engine modes and so on. That’s data third party competitors may struggle to gain access to, leaving their systems looking a little weak.
Obviously, it’s debatable how much information the rider needs – or wants – before it becomes too much of a distraction. And I guess that’s part of the prototyping and testing process; to find that happy medium.
In the meantime it’ll be interesting to see how these techs develop and at what price point they start to hit the market – and indeed to see how many people buy them given that much of the attraction of motorcycling is to get away from distractions and just focus on the road and scenery.
We’ll keep you updated here.