Shoei is the first major motorcycle helmet manufacturer to join the growing smart helmet revolution with the announcement of their IT-HT helmet.
The IT-HT helmet will include Bluetooth intercom and head-up display (HUD) which includes a translucent screen that shows vital information to the rider without them having to take their eyes off the road.
Information includes bike data such as speed and revs, but also navigation.
The helmet includes electronic and optical parts in the chin bar and a lens in front of the rider’s right eye.
A full-colour 6-inch image is displayed through the lens at 2m.
The system is connected to a smartphone through Bluetooth, and the navigation information such as left-turn, right-turn, and estimated arrival time is also displayed. The navigation app was co-developed by Navitime Japan Co., Ltd. – the most popular Japanese navigation app developer.
The smart helmet and HUD revolution is yet to get off the ground.
While there are many start-ups with smart helmets and aftermarket add-on devices such as Hudway, Nuviz and Seemore, few have made it to the market or proved their reliability.
Shoei motorcycle helmets have a long history of making safe and quality helmets, so their addition to the smart helmet revolution is welcome.
In fact, Shoei is Australia’s most trusted helmet brand, according to a 2018 Canstar Blue survey.
It also lends credibility to the argument that this technology is the future of motorcycling.
Some even predict these smart helmets will make bike instruments obsolete.
Shoei announced the IT-HT at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Unfortunately, it will only be made available in Japan and not until 2020 with no price yet.
This tech does not come cheap. Most start-up company smart helmets cost well over $1000 such as the Jarvish and Skully helmets.
Shoei’s mass-production could mean they are cheaper.
However, they say they have “no definitive plans to export this new model”.
Shoei brand manager at Aussie importers McLeods Accessories, Damien Irwin says he hopes the technology “will flow through to our market within the next few of years”.
Shoei has partnered with fellow Japanese technology company NS West which makes instruments for cars such as Mazda and head-up displays.
Meanwhile, Australia is also getting in on the smart helmet revolution with the Forcite to be launched in March this year.
This year could be when the smart helmet revolution really gets into gear.
But do you think it is safe or a distraction? Leave your comments below.