Built into the bike itself

The idea of an airbag as some sort of protection dates back to more than a hundred years when Harold Round & Arthur Parrott, two dentists from Birmingham, England, submitted their design patents in 1919. In 1952, American John W. Hetrick, filed for an airbag patent that is specifically used in automobiles.

Airbags for motorcycles have been around for a while now. However, up until this point, they've been mostly the wearable kind while bike mounted airbags have yet to see commercial use.

Just recently, Autoliv – a leading automotive safety systems supplier – has joined forces with the Piaggio Group to develop airbag systems specifically for motorcycle and scooter applications. And rather than something the rider has to wear, they will be fitted onto the bike itself.

This joint development agreement was signed by the two parties for the purpose of developing airbags to provide greater protection for two-wheeler riders and enhance riding pleasure. The airbags will be mounted on the vehicle frame and will deploy in milliseconds.

The popularity of powered two-wheelers continues to rise, due to widespread urbanization and urban densification and to the practicality and ease of use of powered two-wheelers. Today scooters and motorcycles are equipped with advanced safety systems, such as ABS (Antilock Braking System) and ASR (Anti-Slip Regulation), and the addition of airbags will be a further step in this direction.

“Autoliv is committed to our vision of Saving More Lives and to providing world-class life-saving solutions for mobility and society. Therefore, we are developing products that specifically protect vulnerable road users. The development of these products is an integral part of our sustainability agenda and an important step towards our goal of saving 100,000 lives a year by 2030”, says Mikael Bratt, CEO, and President, Autoliv.

Autoliv has developed the initial concepts with advanced simulation tools and conducted full-scale crash tests. Autoliv will now work with the Piaggio Group to develop the product further and potentially commercialize the concept.