Emergency call systems for cars have been around for a while, with services like OnStar automatically dialing for help if they detect a crash. Now, BMW wants to offer the same security and safety to motorcyclists.
The automaker announced that its Intelligent Emergency Call system, offered in Europe for its cars for more than 15 years, will now be an option for European BMW motorcycles from 2017.
This IEC system can give the two-wheel crowd a proper safety net. You can trigger it yourself, such as when you need to help a fellow motorist, but the real magic comes with its automatic responses.
The system uses GPS to locate the motorcycle and a dedicated cellular connection to contact BMW’s emergency call centers and “initiate the rescue chain.”
IEC’s acceleration and lean angle sensors can not only tell if your bike falls or crashes, but time the call for help based on severity.
A call is made automatically if sensors detect a high-speed crash, with a loudspeaker and microphone built into the motorcycle’s handlebar used to establish contact with the rider. If a minor fall or collision is detected then the system will trigger after 25 seconds, with riders able to cancel the call if no assistance is needed.
The system can also be manually triggered at the press of a button, with BMW suggesting that rider use this to call for help for other road users.
The company points out that a recent EU report showed that call systems like this allow emergency services to get to the scene of a crash 40 to 50 percent faster, saving lives. (The EU is making its eCall system mandatory in new cars from 2018 — although motorcycles are not covered).
It’s unclear, though, if or when the system will ever be available for US customers, and it doesn’t appear that any other major motorcycle manufacturers plan on offering a similar service.