According to patent documents rooted out by Gizmag, Kawasaki is developing a rack of novel technologies for the next generation of its high-tech flagship motorcycle, the 1400 GTR. These include not only an infrared camera system, but also a helmet-mounted, heads-up display for projecting those pictures, and a collision avoidance system, which will detect and highlight potential dangers.
The timing of the roll-outs of these technologies isn’t nailed down, though Gizmag speculates that the first round will come this fall, at the Paris motorcycle shows. But the individual technologies seem ripe: Infra-red sensors in particular are already on the market today, in high-end cars by Mercedes and BMW.
The system would hinge on two cameras, mounted on the front of each rear-view mirror. These will detect heat–from animals or people, for example, but not for objects as cool as their backgrounds. Working as a pair–just like your eyes–the cameras would allow depth perception, so that the distance of objects could be readily calculated. And that could be massively helpful, since the cameras have a range of 300 feet–much further than the range of even high-beam headlights.
The read-outs would either appear on a dash-mounted display, or a helmet-mounted visor that would click on over an existing visor–though the later seems further off. In the interim, the Kawasaki system will make it easier to process the information on the dash display, by highlighting only potential obstacles and showing how far away they are, and perhaps beaming only that information to the helmet display.