Alpinestars Motorcycle Airbag Tech Wins Top Innovation Award

This innovative safety tech is ready for street use…but not in the US, yet.

byEric Brandt|
Car Tech photo

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The Alpinestars Tech-Air airbag system has been recognized with a Top Innovation award in the wearables category at the Consumer Electronics Show Asia in Shanghai, China, reports.

The Tech-Air system is a wearable airbag that integrates with compatible motorcycle jackets from Alpinestars. It's engineered to detect an accident and inflate before impact to protect the rider’s upper body. It has a main control unit and sensor in the back, sensors on the shoulders, and a sensor on the chest. This ensures it can detect an accident from any direction. When triggered, two deployment charges quickly inflate the airbag surrounding the rider in a protective cushion.

This technology is not exactly new. Tech-Air has been used in MotoGP since 2009 and Alpinestars has been testing it for street use for many years. One of the most famous real-life uses for Tech-Air is when 3-time MotoGP World Champion Jorge Lorenzo got in an accident at Laguna Seca in 2011. He was wearing an Alpinestars airbag and it deployed 760 milliseconds before his body hit the track. The impact energy was 25g and he got up and walked off the track just minutes later.

Alpinestars claims that in all of its tests, the airbag was inflated significantly before impact on all of its dummies. They also promise an inflated airbag won’t cause injury to the rider and that an inadvertent inflation would not throw a rider from their bike.

One of the best things about Tech-Air is that it’s compatible with any motorcycle. All you need is a compatible jacket. It doesn’t need to be linked to any external sensors or GPS in order to work. When it’s in your jacket, there are small LEDs on your sleeve indicating its status and assuring you it’s ready to go.

Tech-Air is currently available in Europe, but not yet in the US. We don’t have any dates yet for when it’s coming to our shores, but you can sign up for updates here. Check out the video below from Alpinestars for a more in-depth look at how Tech-Air works.