Safety takes centre stage with Multistrada’s airbags


Ducati’s unique tie-up with motorcycle clothing experts Dainese has seen one of its bike’s win a prestigious auto safety award thanks to the creation of airbags for both riders and passengers.

The University of Technology of Vienna has awarded the Ducati Multistrada 1200 S D|air with the prize, named after Professor Ferdinand Porsche, for its innovative safety airbag system deployed through Dainese jackets.

This is the first time the honour, assigned every two years by the Viennese University for outstanding technological innovation in the automotive industry, has been awarded to a factory motorcycle.

Federico Sabbioni, Ducati’s head of vehicle project management explained the system saying:“Constructive, pioneering teamwork between Ducati and Dainese has led to the evolution of the D|air Street System incorporated on the Multistrada 1200: it now includes a new algorithm that senses when the motorcycle is sliding out from underneath the rider and consequently activates the airbag.

“Moreover, the on-board system of sensors and control units has been developed together with the motorcycle to ensure quality and reliability.”

The bike’s intelligent vehicle-integrated system is wireless-connected to Dainese-made Ducati Apparel D|air airbag jackets. The Multistrada D|air system analyses the data and can inflate the jacket airbags, for both rider and passenger, in just 45 milliseconds, considerably reducing the risk of impact-related injuries.

Airbag systems have been used during the last few seasons of the MotoGP championship to reduce the risk of serious injuries for racers.

The Multistrada D|air system employs a sophisticated algorithm, which manages data delivered from two triple axis accelerometers fixed to the left and right fork bottoms of the Multistrada’s front suspension and an additional two rear triple axis accelerometers mounted in the D|air Electronic Control Unit (ECU) positioned under the seat. When the sensors detect a potentially dangerous crash scenario, an algorithm is triggered which takes just 25 milliseconds to decide if airbag deployment is necessary or not. If deployment is necessary the D|air ECU onboard the Multistrada, which is continuously in bi-directional radio contact between the system and the Dainese jackets, initiates and completes airbag inflation in just 20 milliseconds, a total of 45 milliseconds from the start of impact.

The system also boasts a telematics feature and is programmed to warn the user of a jacket system error by flashing slowly and will flash faster if the jacket has failed to connect to the system after 30 seconds of the key being switched on. The central yellow light remains off when the system is active and ready for use, but will illuminate constantly to warn of a low battery in the airbag jacket or a D|air system error.

The original round, dot matrix part of the Multistrada’s instrumentation is used to display information for rider and passenger airbag battery levels in addition to airbag jacket scheduled maintenance reminders.

Naturally, although Ducati has not said whether the system can be connected to the internet via a smartphone, it seems likely the next step would be to bolt-on an eCall feature to alert emergency services in the event of airbag deployment.

The 2015 version of the Multistrada 1200 S D|airwill be available to customers in Europe from the end of July, just in time for the summer holiday biking tours.

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