safety meets technology on the streets
Safety air bags as part of rider clothing are nothing new. What is new however is the technology being utilised to operate them on behalf of the rider, and this morning Tucano Urbano launched their brand new Airscud that offers all the latest innovation.
Tucano Urbano’s first foray into airbags in the 2000s was their Modulo Airbag. That was designed to be worn within certain jackets in their range and was successfully operated by a lanyard attached to your scooter or bike. Should rider and scooter subsequently part company, then like a ripcord on a parachute, the airbag is deployed – in something like 8 milliseconds if I recall. Apart from the tether, which you constantly had to remember to undo once dismounting, my only criticism would have been it was a bit bulky.
And so to the 21stcentury which sees Tucano team up with French company In&motion who launched their autonomous airbag system three years ago and now have products used on the road as well as the racetrack by numerous MotoGP and Dakar riders. But while the latest airbag technology can be found on race suits and adventure jackets, that’s not necessarily what a daily commuter chooses to wear. This venture however has resulted in a product that offers “maximum protection” for those riding a motorcycle or scooter every day.
Innovating and learning
The magic In&box that controls everything is about the size of a smartphone and locates within the airbag unit. It connects via Wi-fi and Bluetooth and using this In&motion’s engineers gather and analyse data from thousands of riders as they travel roads all over the world, with apparently 35 million kilometres of data already utilised.
They told us that every activation is detected and studied in detail and that this continuous research and development feeds the latest versions of the detection algorithm, which is available to all users. This is thanks to seven sensors – three accelerometers, three gyroscopes and one GPS.
The detection algorithm measures the parameters of use a thousand times every second by all accounts and, if necessary, provides what they claim is the fastest inflation activation in the world; in less than 60 milliseconds – less than a blink of an eye – the system detects the risk and completes the airbag inflation, with total coverage of the vital areas: chest (thorax), abdomen, neck and spine.
Using the In&motion App on your smartphone you can chose whether to set the Airscud to Street, Adventure or Track to suit your location.
The Airscud is, in its basic form, a waistcoat/vest type jacket that can be worn under or over any outfit. You can either buy it like that, or compete with zip-on arms (available to purchase at a later date) which turns it into a full jacket in its own right.
The abrasion resistant Oxford material together with D30 protection at the arms and elbows means it becomes a CE-motorcycle certified jacket within minutes. It is also water resistant to protect the electrics in light showers, as well as breathable.
The exterior has been constructed with lightweight Taslan polyamide, as well as 500D Oxford polyamide in the areas most exposed to impact for greater abrasion resistance. The lining is 3D mesh for ventilation and the sides feature large elasticated panels to ensure a perfect fit. There are also pockets for storage.
There is a transparent window on the back that allows the In&box to be switched on and monitored by LEDs, although the In&motion app allows you to operate it from there, check the battery and other things too.
As for the style, it certainly looks sleek and unobtrusive, which of course was the design remit so that riders would be encouraged to wear it rather feel as though they were having to endure it. Tucano Urbano also told us they plan to design their future range of clothing to accept the Airscud as well as encouraging other manufacturers to do likewise, the product in their eyes being a useful safety accessory to any jacket on the market.
The Airscud is a CE motorcycle certified vest – Class C Oversuit – meaning it has the resistance characteristics that allow it to be worn safely both over and under a jacket. In addition, it contains a CE EN 1621 – Level 1 back protector that offers additional spinal protection even in situations where the algorithm does not deploy the airbag. With the addition of sleeves, AIRSCUD transforms into a Class A CE motorcycle certified jacket, equipped with CE – EN 1621 Level 1 certified D3O® T5 EVO X protectors on shoulders and elbows.
The battery inside the unit we are told will last for up to 30 hours and will go into ‘standby mode’ automatically, for example if you hang your jacket up after the ride to work in the morning. The app offers features such as battery level, mode selection, and in the future an emergency call (currently only available on France) upon deployment of the airbag. And if the airbag does deploy the jacket will be ready to ride again within minutes. And if you have a replacement inflator unit to hand (available to purchase separately), the vest can easily be reset yourself with no need to send it off to any specialists.
The Airscud will be available in six sizes from S-3XL in select UK Tucano Urbano stores and on the Tucano Urbano website from September.
Until 31st July, customers can pre-order the Airscud online and in stores at the price of £399.00, with free Airscud sleeves, worth £99. After this date the airbag vest and sleeves will be available to purchase together for a combined RRP of £479.00, or separately for RRP £399.00 for the vest, and £99.00 for the sleeves.
There is also a subscription cost for In&motion which is £120 per year if paid annually, or £12 per month. This includes not only the analysis of data so the product learns how to protect you the rider, but regular updates to the system so that “it is always up to date.” There is also an unlimited warranty that also includes damage in the event of an accident.
For further information about the Tucano Urbano Airscud visit www.tucanourbano.com
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