Is Yamaha working on developing its own motorcycle airbag system?
Airbag technology is commonplace in cars, trucks and other four-wheeled vehicles in 2022. In the motorcycle realm, airbag safety systems are more often worn by riders on their bodies, rather than considered technology equipped on the motorcycles themselves. The Honda Gold Wing is a notable exception, of course, but it’s nowhere near as common on bikes as it is on cars, these days.
However, some major OEMs are trying to change that. In November 2021, Piaggio and automotive airbag manufacturer Autoliv announced that they had signed a joint development agreement to create an airbag system for two-wheeled vehicles. Now that it’s November 2022, it looks like Yamaha is also looking into the possibility of developing its own motorcycle airbag system.
“Yes, we are looking at airbags for motorcycles. Already some companies have made announcements and several others are mobilizing for this development. I believe some are already in the market, and we are also developing this as well. But we are not in able to establish a roadmap for its launch now,” Heiji Maruyama, general manager of Yamaha’s technical research and development center, told Autocar Professional.
He went on to describe the differences between airbag systems and other supplemental safety systems in cars, and how they compare to motorcycles. On bikes, of course, the form factor is very different, as is the size. Other considerations with cyclists include the fact that seat belts are not involved on bicycles, and cyclists also, by necessity, tend to move around in their seats much more frequently than drivers and passengers in bicycles. cars. This, in turn, can make it more difficult to formulate a protection system that adequately improves driver safety.
Still, Maruyama said, considering all the different factors involved is necessary—and Yamaha will do its best to research and fix those issues. In November 2021, Honda issued a statement regarding its goal of achieving zero fatal accidents by 2050– and it’s a sentiment that Maruyama echoed in terms of Yamaha’s efforts.
Elsewhere in the interview, Maruyama said that “our goal is to put the technology into a small machine, and technically speaking we have reached a very advanced stage.” While it’s still unclear exactly when or how Yamaha might share these developments with the public, we look forward to seeing the progress Team Blue has made in the not-too-distant future.