How the IoT Can Change the Rules of Motorcycle Riding


When people talk about the IoT, most tech companies discuss inter-connectivity between gadgets and cars. However, motorcycles are also getting some traction thanks to manufacturers teaming up with tech companies to get a slice of the IoT technology.


California-based Zero Motorcycles is a business that deals with high-performance electric motorcycles. It first introduced its proprietary electric bike to the public in 2006 in Santa Cruz California, and now the company is tapping into the IoT in order to connect motorcycles and riders better.


Beyond connectivity at home, vehicles have become an important area of development for the IoT. According to a blog post from Telogis, the integration of Wi-Fi into fleet vehicles has allowed companies to help monitor real-time data, GPS-based tracking, routing information, and much more to benefit efficiency throughout organizations. But it’s not just the companies that profit from these IoT developments – drivers are also much more aware of their surroundings and performance at the wheel. The IoT makes the integration of this technology to motorcycles much more viable.


Aswell as Zero Motorcycles, other major motorcycle brands such as Harley Davidson have explored introducing IoT into their manufacturing process. With the help of the IoT, Harley Davidson’s manufacturing plants can now assemble a bike in less than 90 seconds. This was made possible by IoT sensors and other equipment that keep track of the production line.


Riding safer with IoT

The IoT arguably makes motorcycle riding safe when paired with DSRC or Dedicated Short-Range Communications. The integration of DSCR to motorcycles could improve interaction between the rider, vehicle, and the objects ahead that may be hazardous. Zero Motorcycles close to achieving lesser injuries on the road by adding this technology to their lightweight electric bikes.


Before tapping into DSCR, Zero Motorcycles integrated Bluetooth into its vehicles. The idea was to utilize Bluetooth to communicate with the motorcycle, and if a problem arose, the owner would only need to press a button on the bike’s dashboard to get help from Zero Motorcycles immediately. With the technology, the company can now remotely diagnose a problem, access key information, and then schedule the bike for maintenance checks.


“Our bikes’ owners can communicate with us from anywhere in the world using our mobile application and its connection to our Salesforce-based Partner Community,” said Aaron Cheatham, the Director for Zero Motorcycles’ Customer Experience Department. “They have the ability to pull the log files from many of the major components. When they send them to us, a technical case is automatically created, and we ask for additional details. Meanwhile, a service technician can decode those files, review them, and send a response. All this information is immediately shared with the dealer from whom the customer purchased the motorcycle.”


Smart Helmets

Additionally, motorcycle companies are now developing smart helmets that communicate with DSCR-injected motorcycles. One of the pioneers of the smart helmet is Skully Helmets Inc. but unfortunately, they shut down in 2016. Despite having raised over $2 million via crowdfunding sites, and an additional $11 million in venture capital from Intel, the company was unable to reach its production stages.


By combining GPS navigation, a blind-spot camera view and a transparent HUD, Smart helmets are assisting riders without interfering with the riders eyesight on the road.


DSRC and Smart Helmets seem to be the future of motorcycles. They could potentially change the way motorcycles are driven, and make the roads safer for everyone.

Written by Alyzon Azia
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