Both helmets and airbags can enhance safety, but how will they work together?
On November 4, 2022, Italian helmet maker Airoh and automotive airbag specialist Autoliv formally announced their partnership on development of a concept motorcycle helmet. It’s not just any concept motorcycle helmet, though. Instead, it’s a concept that the firms say is “the world’s first motorcycle helmet concept with integrated airbag.”
As you might guess from the timing, Airoh and Autoliv are bringing this world-first concept to EICMA 2022, which officially opens in Milan on November 8. This project has been in the works for the past two years, at both Airoh’s and Autoliv’s respective research facilities. They say their combined research should result in enhanced rider safety for wearers of this helmet, but “without the application of the airbag critically compromising the design, weight, or comfort of the helmet.”
We have questions, of course—namely, how will it work? However, since the firms are bringing this concept to EICMA, hopefully demonstrations are planned that will illustrate exactly how such a helmet would function—as well as how it might fulfill all the promises claimed by the firms.
“To substantially reduce the number of motorcyclist injuries and deaths, we need to take a holistic approach in which we study several combined countermeasures. Wearing a helmet is still the most important protection for a motorcyclist. Our in-depth knowledge of crash-data, biomechanics and injury assessment tools, combined with Airoh’s experience is an excellent opportunity to improve head protection for pilots and save more lives,” Autoliv CEO and president Mikael Bratt said in a statement.
On Autoliv’s landing page about its EICMA presentation, it of course mentions some of its previously-introduced airbag innovations, both on bikes and on riders. Regarding this one, it adds that “testing shows the peak linear head acceleration and head injury risk in an impact can be significantly reduced by utilizing airbag technology.”
We’ve written extensively about previous Autoliv safety developments regarding motorcyclists in the past—including, most recently, another airbag helmet announcement. This one came in August, 2022, and had to do with development of an airbag-equipped bicycle helmet—with questions about whether we could expect to see similar tech show up in a motorcycle helmet anytime soon. Whether this concept lives up to its claims is another matter, but now we know that at least we don’t have to wait long to see what they’ve come up with?