Any kind of crash or emergency is terrible to live through—whether you’re in it, or you’re anxiously awaiting news of a loved one who’s involved. However, it’s exponentially worse if that emergency happens inside a tunnel, simply because access is automatically restricted.
A given tunnel’s individual characteristics will cause different kinds of access difficulties, but a system like this Tunnel Keeper concept seems like it could handle most of them. Industrial designer Syu Wei Chen has been racking up design awards left and right in 2021 with this design, and it’s easy to see why.
First things first: the Tunnel Keeper doesn’t only consist of the electric emergency motorbike you see here. Instead, it’s an entire system, designed for optimal efficiency at a tunnel when there’s an emergency. Chen envisions a Tunnel Keeper station, where operators are standing by, ready to get on their bikes and quickly dispatch to handle an emergency inside the tunnel where they’re positioned. The bikes charge at the station and patiently wait until they’re needed.
Gallery: Tunnel Keeper Emergency Electric Bike Concept
Throughout the tunnel, fire hoses are located along the walls. Tunnel Keeper motorbikes have hookups for these hoses, so an operator can instantly attach the hose to the motorbike, then spray down any fires occurring within the tunnel. A separate firefighting foam reservoir and nozzle setup is located on the back of the bike if needed.
Other features include a smoke dissipator that helps circulate air within the tunnel as the Tunnel Keeper bike speeds toward the emergency. It also sprays a fine mist to help capture particles in the air and bring them down to the ground, so they’re less of a breathing and vision problem for everyone in the tunnel. There’s also a stretcher that resembles a futuristic sidecar, so a Tunnel Keeper operator can strap an injured person in and quickly get them out of the tunnel where they can receive appropriate medical attention.
So far in 2021, Chen has won four separate design awards for this project, and was a Red Dot Design finalist, as well. He’s created plenty of non-motorcycle-related designs in the past, as well as an electric pet ambulance concept scooter in 2020, and what he calls a new type of off-road motorcycle in 2021. Here’s hoping we see some of Chen’s designs become real motorcycles in the future.