The latest offering from Alpinestars US, the manufacturers of automotive and motorcycle safety gears, is the Tech Air Race motorcycle suit. The big breakthrough in this creation is that the system is small enough to be integrated directly into the Electronic Airbag Protection Suit and is controlled by a high-tech electronic brain. A complicated set of algorithms constantly monitors the rider’s movements, and five programming levels ensure the airbag doesn’t deploy when it’s not necessary. A quick thinker, the electronic brain takes a total of about eight milliseconds to determine whether a crash is imminent. Once the airbag system is triggered by the seven sensors placed all over the suit, it takes just 50 milliseconds to inflate fully and stays fully inflated for about five seconds. After 25 seconds or so, the bag completely deflates. And it doesn’t end there. After the event, GPS is used to determine where the crash has taken place. Alpinestars’ airbag system comprises of two separate cylinders that set off a cold charge of nitrogen. It takes roughly one minute for the system to rearm itself after the initial firing.
The high-tech suit has been tested on machines powered by both internal combustion engines and electric motors. Ben Spies, Mika Kallio, and Dani Pedrosa are currently running the MotoGP races’ data logging suits. The first installment of the consumer-ready suits is expected to be available by June 2011. No clue about the price, but the technology is expected to add roughly $2,500 to the cost of a standard suit.