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 seen as tech that’s outfitted on motorcycles themselves. The Honda Gold Wing is a notable exception, of course—but it’s nowhere near as widespread on bikes as it is in cars, at present.
Some major OEMs are trying to change that, though. In November, 2021, Piaggio and automotive airbag maker Autoliv announced that they’d signed a joint development agreement aimed at creation of a two-wheeled-vehicle airbag system. Now that it’s November, 2022, it seems that Yamaha is also investigating the possibility of developing a moto airbag system of its own.
“Yes, we are considering airbags for motorcycles. Already some companies have made announcements and several others are getting together for this development. I believe that some are already in the market, and we are also developing this as well. But we are unable to make a roadmap of its launch now,” Yamaha Technical Research and Development Center chief general manager Heiji Maruyama told Autocar Professional.
He went on to describe the differences in airbag systems and other supplemental safety systems in cars, and how they compare to motorcycles. On bikes, of course, the form factor is much different—as is the size. Additional considerations with riders include the fact that seat belts aren’t involved on bikes, and riders also, by necessity, tend to move around in their seats much more frequently than drivers and passengers do in cars. This, in turn, can make it more difficult to formulate a protective system that adequately enhances rider safety.
Still, Maruyama said, considering all the various factors involved is necessary—and Yamaha will do its best to research and address these issues. Back in November, 2021, Honda made a statement concerning its goal of reaching zero collision fatalities by the year 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 integrate the technology into a small machine and, technically speaking, we have come to a very mature stage.” While it’s still not clear exactly when or how Yamaha may share such developments with the public, we look forward to seeing the progress that Team Blue has made in the not-too-distant future.