Will motorcycle manufacturers bother to include an instrument panel on future models? If every purchaser of a new motorcycle owns a smartphone, why bother?
In the world of automobiles, smart displays have been integrated into vehicle dashboards for quite some time. Owners of these vehicles frequently lament the fact that relatively inexpensive tablets (iPads or Android devices) have (1) better screens, (2) more intuitive navigation capabilities, and (3) quicker, more powerful processors. Many automobile drivers already mount a smartphone on their dash, as well.
Aprilia has had a system available for several years that utilizes a bluetooth connection with a smartphone, enabling a rider of one of its bikes (the Caponord 1200 Rally, for instance) to access and display a wealth of data … right down to lean angle. The smartphone is mounted on the handlebars (see photo) or other position where the rider can easily see it at a glance.
Many smartphones today also contain most, if not all, of the elements comprising an Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU), including an accelerometer and gyroscope. Even as a stand-alone device, some modern smartphones, utilizing their GPS capabilities, as well, can provide nearly all of the information available from an on-board instrument cluster.
Of course, new hardware is also arriving (heads-up displays in helmets, for instance) that can improve on the traditional instrument panels’ ability to convey information to the rider. Take a look, for instance, at what i-Laps has coming.
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