In 2017 BMW will introduce an SOS emergency system to its production motorcycles across Europe. SOS can detect when a major or minor crash has occurred and will send an automatic distress signal to BMW assist services to reduce emergency response times.
The potentially life-saving system is more advanced than current hand-held emergency beacons, such as EPIRBs, that require the push of a button to activate an emergency response.
BMW’s ‘Intelligent Emergency Call’ system, or ‘eCall’, however, uses a host of sensors in the bike, including crash sensors to detect collisions and a banking-angle sensor to detect high- and low-side incidents.
BMW will offer eCall as a factory-fitted option in Europe early next year and other markets thereafter.
It is not yet confirmed for Australia, however, due to the vast remoteness between major cities.
Other determining factors include whether the system will solely rely on conventional mobile phone networks as it does in Europe (and thus considerably limit coverage here) or utilise the strength of satellite phone technology, which should prove popular among BMW GS adventure riders in Australia’s remote locations.
“Australia is a nightmare compared to Europe to consider these sorts of things,” BMW Motorrad Australia marketing manager Miles Davis says. “We assume it will be coming, but we’re just not sure on the timing.
“Typical road bikes is one thing, but when you’re talking GSs and where they can be in our market is a totally different kettle of fish to Europe.
“You don’t have to be too far away from a metro city to be on a road, enjoying your GS, possibly on your own. And if you do have a problem, the next vehicle mightn’t see you, or it could be a day or more before the next one comes along. That makes it complicated [for BMW head office in Germany] to have a solid strategy on how to handle it.
“They are looking at it and they are aware of the challenges we face here,” Davis says.
The compact, handlebar-mounted system features an SOS button with a safety cover as well as an integrated microphone and loudspeaker to communicate with an emergency call centre in your preferred language to help other road users in need. The system can only be triggered manually when the motorcycle is stationary with the ignition on. The manual callout can also be cancelled.
The system does not trigger automatically in non-emergency situations, such as low-speed incidents, or if the bike tips over or when riding over obstructions and small jumps.