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News Is The Dream of Motorcycle HUDs fading?

Discussion in 'Motorcycling News' started by NetriderBot, May 26, 2015.

  1. Motorcycle HUDs incorporated into helmets promised to bring the next generation of technology to riders. Just nine months ago, we took a look at the present and future of Motorcycle HUDs and it’s around now that we should have been reviewing these new products. Instead, all three competing products are either delayed or worse. So is the dream of Motorcycle HUD’s turning into just that – a dream?

    The biggest name in Motorcycle HUD’s is the Skully AR-1 which unlike the competition, incorporates the HUD into a specially made helmet. After previewing the helmet for some time, Skully launched a crowdfunding campaign to gauge interest in the product. It was a huge success with Skully raising $2.4 million on Indiegogo.

    With confirmation of demand, Skully then secured over $11 million in funding from the likes of Intel Capital and Techstars. Delivery was to be next month. That has now been pushed back until December 2015 at the earliest – and without any official announcement from Skully. We first heard of the delay when a reader messaged our site, letting us know that the pre-order delivery date as listed on their webpage had changed to the end of year.


    As it currently stands, it’s believed that not a single motorcycle journalist has had access to the helmet to use in a live situation – nor even seen a production model. If that’s true, it makes the likelihood of a finished and certified product unlikely by the end of the year. Even perhaps more worrying is that Skully has supposedly contracted a budget Chinese manufacturer to build the actual helmets – perhaps not the best news to hear given the asking price of $1,500.

    But Skully is by no means the only company to fail to deliver on its promises. Nuviz and their Ride:HUD have perhaps had an even more disappointing result. Nuviz seemed quite promising – not only was their product a more realistic offering (it was a device that would be attached to any helmet, rather than an incorporated system), it was backed by a company with some actual history.

    The Nuviz company is actually a joint venture between HOLOEYE Photonics and APX Labs. HOLOEYE designs and develops heads up displays for applications such as air force pilots and more recently, soldiers on the ground. They’ve been in business since 1998. APX Labs do equally impressive work but focus more on the software side of things, but again with application to heads up displays.


    Yet, late last year, Nuviz refunded all their Kickstarter backers, with the reasoning being that they were encountering design & production delays. A single post appeared on their Facebook page just a fortnight ago with the following:

    We simply wanted to let you all know that, yes, we are more alive than ever and we won’t stop until we achieved the very best Head-Up Display solution for your motorcycle helmet. Going forward, our focus will be on product development and delivering you the ultimate user experience. We look forward to taking you along on this exciting ride and really appreciate your continued support!

    While the door is still open, it’s fair to say that the Nuviz RIDE:Hud is currently vaporware.

    As it stands, the only Motorcycle HUD you can buy is the Bike-HUD, which has now been available for a number of years. We’ve voiced our issues with the design of the Bike-HUD previously and thankfully, a second generation system is underway – the Bike-HUD Adventure. Although they experienced a failed Kickstarter campaign to help with funding the new model, we understand that the company is still attempting to get the product to market before the end of the year.


    All of this shows how difficult a technology this is to get to market. But it also illustrates the dangers of over promising and under delivering. Even if the Skully AR-1 does come to market, we have serious doubts of the viability of a $1,500 helmet. It will take many, many years for that price to come down to a level people are willing to pay at a mass market level.

    But perhaps an even bigger indication as to the viability of these products is the fact that not a single established helmet manufacturer has shown an interest in Motorcycle HUD’s. Bell, Arai, Shoei and so forth with their many millions of dollars and established history in motorcycle helmet manufacture have not given any indication they are building, let alone designing heads-up displays for motorcycles.

    That either means that there’s no profit in it or that there’s no real advantage in such devices. And unfortunately for now, it’s had to prove them wrong with actual hardware.

    Continue reading...
  2. Can't wait for a simple speed only HUD that is adaptable to any helmet. One that projects the speed directly onto the visor. Would only need brightness and transparency adjustable settings. Why does this not exist yet?
  3. I bought a Chinese alarm clock with a built-in projector that puts the time up on the ceiling, I think it cost $10.00. You wouldn't think there would be too much engineering to connect a magnetic speed pickup, a bluetooth comms link, and a small LED projector aimed at the corner of the visor, hmm wonder if ALDI is working on something ?
    • Like Like x 1
  4. I think that the whole idea is still in it's infancy, which is why it hasn't taken off. Plus like Skid Mark noted, they are too complicated. Everyone that is hoping to bring them to market has over complicated the design and features.

    If there was a standard for HUD systems that was adopted by helmet manufacturers (similar to the way that space for bluetooth headsets is incorporated into helmets) with units that varied in price and features, it would likely be heavily adopted.

    even if Bell or Shoei were to bring out their own system that could easily be incorporated into their ~$500+ helmets then they would be onto a winner
  5. I couldn't help think of this when I saw these helmets
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • Funny Funny x 1
  6. I have no desire for one at all and wouldn't use it even if it was free.
  7. This is the problem, no way that eye piece design will ever be allowed.
  8. Yeh I can't imagine it being allowed in regards to safety
  9. Hmmm, I see an opportunity :)
  10. There are other options, such as projecting information onto the bottom corner of the visor (in the same way that current car HUD's work)
  11. Yes this is along the lines I'm thinking. Just gotta get round the complicated key stone issue from the curved visor.... Do able I think :)
  12. My thoughts exactly, I love the minimalism on the bike. I get irked even by the pointless(in practice) high beam indicator, a HUD would be a nightmare.
  13. Are you referring to the "pass" button or the actually quality of your high beams
  14. The light on the instrument cluster that illuminates when you have the high beams on.
  15. they should partner with existing helmet makers, and get them to make a new line of helmets under each of the brands with this technology in it.
  16. I rode with one for a while: http://www.gizmag.com/bikehud-motorcycle-hud-heads-up-display-review/33884/

    It was an early product, etc etc but it put me off the whole idea.

    Here's some of the problems they face:

    - getting a screen in front of your eye that works with visors or chinpieces up or down but won't shatter into your eyeball if a stone hits it
    - making sure the screen is low-res enough that it can be proven that it can't be used to play a video while you're riding along
    - getting the vehicle speed to the unit (cheap GPS units don't update quickly enough to be reliable as a speedo)
    - getting the brightness right to handle night and day riding, and all the many quick changing combinations in between
    - making sure you don't have to refocus your eyes to read the thing, because that's shit and gives you a headache

    And, as it turns out, it's just not that hard to look down at your bloody speedo. Voice prompts in your lid do a fine job for navigation. There's actually very little benefit to these $1500-2000 lids that are full of wires and batteries and other heavy stuff, apart from "hey it'll be like Iron Man" - but governments will never let manufacturers put in a screen with full colour, high resolution capabilities, because they don't want you watching goat p0rn on the freeway. More's the pity, really.
    • Like Like x 2
  17. Shit, I didn't think of this. Ok, I only have one reason I would wear one of these.
    • Funny Funny x 1
  18. Dunno mate... I hate when there's a safety campaign on, tourist and trucks everywhere and I have to glance down more often then checking mirrors or looking for skippies. Not saying I want G.P.S. Lean angle info or to contactable while I'm riding (fcuk that) just want a transparent speed reading in my peripheral so that I can tell the difference between 79 and 81 with out really looking at it. Make the boring stuff and speed van ridden areas bit more bearable. Cruise control not really applicable on our sort of roads either. Get out in front, get to the windy bits, flick it off :)
    • Agree Agree x 1
  19. Ummmm... Throw some black tape or something over it if it bothers you. Jeez. Can u ride a dirt bike?
    You might like it. Doesn't even have a fuel gauge.
  20. Mine doesn't have a fuel gauge... I love it. As for the 79-81 argument are you for real, seriously? Or Victorian?