Periodic Reporting for period 2 - INE IAPS (Intelligent active protection system for motorcyclists: saving lives through optimum use of latest advances in sensor technologies, wireless communication, smartphone platforms, real-time analysis)
Reporting period: 2017-06-01 to 2018-05-31
The efficiency of protective devices such as active airbags depends on one key parameter: the quality of the protection.
In&motion have decided to bring to market an intelligent airbag vest that would revolutionise the motorcycling market. Whilst there are solutions currently available, they all present very high cost-benefit ratios that explain why they have so far failed to become widely adopted. Developed so that the solution is optimised to meet specific end users’ comfort needs without compromising on optimum protection, the In&motion concept will bring a wide range of benefits:
• Strong protection improvements reducing the risks of severe injuries.
• In-designed and ultra-light system offering a perfect fit for the end users.
• Reactivation of the device using easy-to-handle consumables.
• Use of a smartphone platform to enhance the user experience and to allow continuous learning.
• A more affordable retail price.
The motorcycles market represents 33 million vehicles in Europe alone, 23 million of those equipped with engines over 50cc. Almost 70% of those are concentrated within only five EU countries: Italy, Germany, Spain, France and the UK. The direction given to legislation discussions by governments in these countries is set to further impact the market potential for intelligent body-protection devices for use in this motorcycling arena. Over the past ten years, major efforts to increase the safety of car drivers have led to a drastic 53% reduction of road accident fatalities. Over the same period though, the number of 2-wheel fatalities has only reduced by 20%. And yet, with the number of registrations continuously increasing, the overall picture looks particularly gloomy unless actions are taken at the legislation level. Based on this observation, the safety of motorcyclists is becoming a priority for governments as well as for insurance companies. As a result, a classification for body protection airbag systems for motorcyclists has been released in order to assess and evaluate the construction and performance of the devices available. A ranking (1 to 5 stars) is thus established and published for all commercialised solutions. This classification is the first step towards an overall scheme that encourages riders to be better equipped, beyond the legal pre-requisites.
Using airbags integrated into the person’s clothing and controlled by highly innovative accident detection and airbag triggering devices, In&motion revolutionises the intelligent protection solutions for motorcyclists thanks to three main novelties:
• an ultra-high energy absorption capacity;
• a much wider protection area;
• a system that uses auto-learning algorithms and that makes full use of smartphone and Cloud technologies.
The project’s objectives were therefore to develop an airbag vest suitable for this motorcycling application, to develop an algorithm with unparalleled performance, and to develop the data handling architecture to go with it. A field-validation involving 500 test-riders has helped consolidate the design of the complete product package, including the smartphone application and the data analysis platform that make this product so attractive. A partnership with the manufacturer Ixon has been developed, leading to a novel distribution model being established, whereby the airbag jacket itself is sold by Ixon and the detection system is sold or leased by In&motion direct to the end user. The first 500 products will be in the shops in September, followed by 4500 more before the end of the year, and another 5000 orders secured for early 2019. It has also been one of In&motion’s objectives to become a key player in European road traffic safety and standards committees.
• Brand recognition – this is a particularly strong requirement in the world of motorcycling.
• Distribution network – the company’s ability to supply goods and spares in a timely fashion will play a part in In&motion’s success in entering this motorcycling market.
• Market segments – the expectations regarding safety equipment (for performance, cost, etc.) are very different for a daily commuter compared to a sport road biker.
The principal challenge facing the team in the early part of the project was therefore the critical necessity to partner with the main clothing manufacturers. The preference was given to the company Ixon.
Another barrier also had to be overcome: the credibility of the fall detection algorithm. In&motion’s overall development strategy relied on the creation of a large database of users that would allow for continuous improvement of the detection device through auto-learning. This is the approach that In&motion has successfully focused on, managing to interest thousands of riders in taking part in a live-test. 500 riders were selected throughout Europe and equipped with In&motion airbags. The test provided the team with very valuable data that made it possible to develop a strong and robust detection algorithm that is now ready to equip thousands of riders. A complex data handling system has been purpose-made to handle the exchange of data from the device’s integrated electronics, to the mobile application, and to the overall platform capable of analysing the uploaded data in order to continuously improve the performance of the system.
Of course, all the above required physical airbag devices to be designed, developed and manufactured, according to very stringent quality constraints. In&motion have designed an award-winning product and have joined forces with their distribution partner Ixon to setup the production capability and capacity required to satisfy market demands.
Beyond the technical developments that this project required, the three In&motion founders have attached a lot of importance in the dissemination of results. They are particularly active in the promotion of protective devices to help bring awareness amongst the motorcycling community and in turn save lives through the wider use of such devices.
They have also made it an objective to be actors in the development of European standards in this field of protection devices. In&motion remain a very active member of working groups in France and at the European level to help draft and validate purposeful guidelines towards the development, manufacture and use of those devices.