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Future BMWs Will Automatically Call For Emergency Assistance If You Crash


Suppose you crash while riding alone in a remote area. Future BMWs will have you covered. BMW calls it the “Intelligent Emergency Call System” that will employ a number of sensors to determine if you have crashed, and automatically call for emergency assistance.

The sensors will include collision and lean angle, which BMW claims can identify a potentially injury causing accident … differentiating it from a parking lot tip over. The system will require the rider to have an existing cell phone carrier connection, and will utilize GPS to bring emergency personnel to your location.

BMW claims the system will result in a significant reduction in lives lost while piloting motorcycles. It anticipates the system will be available as an option on Model Year 2017 motorcycles.

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  1. Bob says:

    It would be wise of BMW to include a feature that permits the bike to call the dealer and set up a service appointment when there’s a system malfunction, but I guess it it was malfunctioning, it couldn’t. It’s always something with technology!

    • daveA says:

      Is there a button that orders you a new final drive and schedules it to be installed?

      • Francois says:

        You live in the past. The final drive problem has been sorted in 2007/2008 already – but according to BMW it never existed – denying there problems – and yes, I do ride a GS. If there are current problems, they are as individual as any other manufacturer’s problem. I know of one or two Yamaha Super Tenere shafts that packed up as well.

  2. Dirty Bob says:

    I ride 80% in areas with no cell service. Satellite is the only option, besides knowing how to survive anything.

  3. Vrooom says:

    Why do I anticipate a lot of ambulances and police and fire being deployed needlessly?

  4. Ian Danby says:

    I guess it’s about time we moved on to satellite phone systems. Remember Murphy’s Law says, the likelihood of of needing assistance is highest where coverage is least, the roads are least straight and the wild life proliferates…
    Hands up all those who like to use their bikes to get away from the ‘Madding Crowd’…

    GRUMPC – yes my hand is up…

  5. Dennis says:

    Ok, call me a luddite but for me abs and heated grips is enough.

  6. Pacer says:

    My only thought is I would like to have an abort button. If I do crash, but everything is good, I’d like to be able to call off the boys. I think it should go off unless I chose to hit the abort button, in case I am incapacitated.

  7. fastship says:

    You’ve been suckered. What you describe, is an EU (European Union) directive dressed as product/press release albeit with a few “bells and whistle” bolted on. This is in effect a bike manifestation of the CVIS (Cooperative Vehicle-Infrastructure System) which the unelected EU Commission spent €36m of taxpayers on their very own EU wide mass surveillance infrastructure and is now mandatory on all EU cars. It is sometimes called the much more benign sounding eCall.

    CVIS is designed to allow the tracking of all cars in the EU to a greater precision then even GPS can achieve. In the US it must require cell coverage to function but in the EU it works on a radio frequency on the 5.9 Gigahertz band, essentially setting aside a universal frequency on which CVIS technology will work.

    Advice to ministers obtained by the Guardian newspaper under the Freedom of Information Act “advocates upgrading to a more effective car tracking-based system, similar to CVIS technology, but warned such a system could be seen as a “spy in the car” and “may be regarded as draconian”.

    Introducing a more benign technology first, the report by transport consultants argues, would “enable potential adverse public reaction to be better managed”.

    The Guardian went on – “Simon Davies, director of the watchdogPrivacy International, said: “The problem is not what the data tells the state, but what happens with interlocking information it already has. If you correlate car tracking data with mobile phone data, which can also track people, there is the potential for an almost infallible surveillance system.”

    Dress it up how you like, it is spywear for your bike. There is much EU directives on bikes; all new throttle-by-wire Triumphs have anti-tamper software pending new EU legislation which the EU Commission wanted to mandate but was defeated by protests but is coming back after the UK’s EU referendum. Under such regulations you may not tamper with ANYTHING on your bike under pain of criminal penalties. To understand this better, you may not put on (or remove) a crash bar, mirror ANYTHING not approved. Compulsory ABS brakes was part of this legislation, again after protests it was limited to sub-125cc bikes. Later it was found that the Commission had been corrupted by Bosch A.G. the main beneficiary of the legislation.

    I hope I have opened your eyes a little – ask the question “cui bono?”

    On June 23rd we in the UK have the opportunity to leave the EU for good. This nonsense is but one reason to VOTE LEAVE.

    • upsetter says:

      You make some very salient points on privacy-invading technologies, and I totally agree with most of them.

      However, your concluding point sadly makes no sense at all. Do you really believe that an independent UK government, one that is already clawing away at our privacy in any sphere it can, will not be in favour of seizing an opportunity such as this kind of technology presents to enact further invasions of privacy?

      Despite the UK public’s apathetic response to privacy issues in general, it is the citizens of our EU neighbours that are making the most noise about such matters. Don’t you think that we have a stronger anti-surveillance voice to fight such legislation when united with our European allies than we do alone?

  8. azi says:

    Every now and then the press publish a story about drivers and vehicles being found in a ditch on a corner several days after they went missing. I think this is a good idea.

  9. Grover says:

    If you really want to be safe, trade your bike in for a Buick. It’s already stuffed full of techno-gizmos and you don’t have to mess your hair up wearing a stupid helmet!

  10. Fred_M says:

    And future Harleys will automatically call for emergency assistance if they get dirty.

  11. Ken says:

    While this is, in theory, a really great engineering achievement I think I’ll pass. I’ve had enough trouble with BMW’s electronics and electrics to mollify any desire for more. The funny think about these electronics is that they need electricity. Will they still call if they’re smashed to bits? How ’bout on fire? I can see the lawsuit now, “Cortanna didn’t call in time to save my son’s life because he hit a bridge abutment at a buck fifty and if the ambulance had been there in 30 seconds they could have saved him with a medical marijuana infusion so BMW should pay me $10,000,000 for my pain and suffering because their system didn’t react to the death wobble fast enough.” It also begs to ask the question, “Why bother riding?” With all the safety nets available why not just do a virtual tour from the comfort of your living room. You’ll save on gear, hotel fees, fuel (gotta keep the eco-nuts happy), and you can eat Cheetos while doing a hairpin on Highway 101 without taking your feet off the ottoman. Could you do an IBA SaddleSore 1000 without leaving your desk? or do we have to wait for PS-5 for that one?

  12. Starmag says:

    That will no doubt up BMW’s reliability ratings. Things are getting a bit complex.

    “The biggest problem that owners experienced were issues with lights, instruments, switches and radios (21 percent); brakes (20 percent); the electrical system (16 percent)”

  13. Kris Wuenstel says:

    Another fine option for those wanting another level of security, especially those who tend to ride solo in secluded, remote areas. Very strong potential to save lives. Safety technologies continue their rapid advancements…I just hope that in the future we are still permitted to be the pilot’s of our motorcycles & not forced to become the passenger of a robot-piloted machine because we are deemed less-capable of riding safely:

    • Tom K. says:

      BMW must be pretty confident of their technology, I can see the barristers popping out of the woodwork if you crashed and the bike failed to report it. One concern I have with GPS monitoring is the potential for abuse from “tattletale” devices, that will notify the gendarme with respect to speeding, stunting, etc.. Even if the bike doesn’t “tell” on you, a black box that is downloadable on demand is not something I want on a bike. I can see the politicians scheming already, Mr. Orwell understood the mind of government very well – Sen. Cullerton of Illinois recently got his idea of “electronic mileage monitoring” shot down by an outraged public. But, he would if he could. And we keep electing guys like this?

      • Kris Wuenstel says:

        Agreed, I don’t want anything on my bike electronically recording for the benefit of insurance companies, ratting me out for going 5 mph over a posted speed limit without providing necessary context. As for the manufacturer’s confidence in their technology, I know you speak to the liability end of the subject but I am also extremely concerned with the reliability aspect…they only need to be confident that the technology will not fail during the warranty period. Beyond the warranty, good luck getting any of those electronic gizmos replaced for any semblance of a reasonable fee…better have a healthy bank account or line of credit. Ask me how much my cousin lost on his 2-year old Ducati Multistrada S ($21k + brand new) when the electronic failures began after the warranty expired and multiple Ducati dealers were unable to repair it regardless of price. Complexity in the quest for safety is coming at the cost of decreased reliability. I prefer simplicity. Riding an older machine forces me to ride as if my life is in my own hands, not the brain of a computer.

  14. TF says:

    Neat idea, especially if it works with a cell plan as stated. However, if it requires an additional monitoring fee I would probably pass. A SPOT GPS device sounds like a better idea provided you are not incapacitated.

  15. mickey says:

    Yep, a lot of safety features from the car industry are starting to show up on motorcycles. I’ve got my piggy bank about half full. When they get the motorcycle with intuitive brake assist, adaptive cruise control, air bags, lane assistance, adaptive headlights, collision warning, 360 degree camera, drowsiness alert, electronic stability control, and parking assistance to go along with the air bag, abs, and anti-skid, anti-wheelie traction control, I’m taking a hammer to that baby and heading to the mc store.

    hey once I get all that stuff on my bike can I throw away my helmet and armored riding gear knowing the bike is going to keep me safe in any circumstances? lol

  16. Scott says:

    Wow. No matter what somebody invents, you can always count on the MD brain trust to tell them why it’s a stupid idea that won’t work.

    GM has had OnStar for many years, and it works in a very similar way to BMW’s idea. There are others as well, and I’m pretty certain these systems have saved some lives.

    True story: In my area, a car was discovered recently about 100 feet down a mountainside from the highway. Apparently it had been there for TWENTY years before it was spotted. They guy had been reported missing way back then, and they had never found a trace. He must have driven, or been run off, the road. I don’t know if he survived the initial crash, but imagine if he’d had OnStar or its equivalent, and he was alive for some amount of time. Maybe he’d still be here, watching his grandkids grow up. (And yes, there’s cell service where he was found).

  17. red says:

    Gimme fuel! Gimme fire!

    (also computers, sensors, gps, cell..)

  18. TexinOhio says:

    This is not a bad idea. Back in the late 90’s during college, a friend of ours left a party late at night (sober) but didn’t have a clear shield on his lid at the time. Missed a curve on a back road, hit a curb and broke his leg when the bike landed on him pinning the leg down. He laid there in the grass for 3-4 hours until it so happened that two nurses driving in to San Antonio to report to work found him in the high grass under a highway overpass.

    Time before we all had cell phones.

  19. jimmihaffa says:

    Well there’s a lot of cynicism already here, but I for one am glad some of the key safety issues facing motorcyclist’s are starting to be addressed. Obviously, automobile safety has been at the forefront of engineering and development for decades now. This is a step, albeit tiny, in the right direction. You certainly don’t have to be all that far removed from civilization for coverage to be lacking and to Stuki’s (funny) point, is there an option for dedicated satellite connection perhaps something like GM’s Onstar?

  20. jimmihaffa says:

    Well there’s a lot of cynicism already here, but I for one am glad some of the key safety issues facing motorcyclist’s are starting to be addressed. Obviously, automobile safety has been at the forefront of engineering and development for decades now. This is a step, albeit tiny, in the right direction. You certainly don’t have to be all that far removed from civilization for coverage to be lacking and to Stuki’s(funny) point, is there an option for dedicated satellite connection perhaps something like GM’s Onstar?

  21. WJBertrand says:

    Seems like a low-side accident might set off the system when rescue response is not really needed. Have you seen the cost of an emergency response bill???

  22. North of Missoula says:

    Let’s hope no one dies thinking that help was on the way in an area where there is no cell signal.

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      Seems like you’d be screwed either way no? Might as well die hoping rather than despairing.

      • North of Missoula says:

        Good point Jeremy.

        If you were stuck in the bush freezing to death after you turned help away because you thought mother BMW was coming to your assistance, you would probably feel better as you froze if you believed help was on the way, even it was not.

        In fact many have survived ordeals alone in the bush because they did not lose hope.

        • Dino says:

          If you freeze to death in the bush after turning down help now, because you think better help is on the way, you dug your own hole… Help is help, so take whatever you can get!

          A bird in hand is better than two birds (with a BMW logo) in some other bush with a cell phone…

          The system seems like a good use of technology… BMW likely already had most of those sensors on the bike already, just add one or two more, write the code to compare multiple sensors that will reduce false alarms, and you likely will save some lives. Not perfect as there are gaps in cell coverage, possibility that bike damage might break the call system before notice is sent, but it seems like a good idea.

  23. Jeremy in TX says:

    Hmmm. My brother and I would have triggered a lot of false alarms during our off-road trek through the mountains last year.

  24. Michael H says:

    And if you drop your BMW in the garage? Or while stopped at a stop sign on a gravel road? Or making a u-turn on loose pavement?

    Plus the description refers to “remote area”, most of which do not have cellular service.

    I see some issues with the system.

    I’ll stay with a SPOT device, I think.

    • TimC says:

      Read the article please. “The sensors will include collision and lean angle, which BMW claims can identify a potentially injury causing accident … differentiating it from a parking lot tip over.”

    • Scott says:

      You don’t think maybe they have some kind of double-check in place? Something that tells you, “Crash detected – Call for help – Yes/No”?

      • Jeremy in TX says:

        The article says “automatically call for help.” To me that implies that it acts without rider input, which if you are lying 100 yards from the bike with your femurs sticking out of your legs is what you would want. It isn’t like a car where the driver is still likely to be in the driver’s seat after an accident, so it seems like requiring some rider input defeats the purpose unless perhaps it makes the call after a certain period of non-response from the rider. Then how much time is too much time to let pass before calling? I’m not slamming the technology – I think it is a great idea/feature. I’m just intrigued to learn BMW’s thought process about how to implement it.

        • Scott says:

          “…unless perhaps it makes the call after a certain period of non-response from the rider.”

          That’s the point I was trying to make. I’m sure the bike is not going to call 911 every time you hit a pothole, and leave you no way to stop it. I don’t know the details about how BMW’s particular system works, but I’m certain the Germans will have thought it out and come up with some kind of algorithm to decide what is and isn’t a crash, and how to let the rider indicate that he doesn’t need assistance from first responders…

  25. mkviz says:

    Life Alert.. Lol. Help…. Ive fallen and I cant get the Bike UP.

  26. Gary says:

    Really important feature when you topple your Beemer on the way to Starbucks for the day. I wonder if this was the result of a strategic partnership with Life Alert?

    Okay, I’m through having fun with this one. Serious faces now…

    • Bart says:

      Where’s the tip over/spill sensor for the drink holder? I don’t see it in the schematics.

  27. Stuki Moi says:

    This may come as a surprise to the Herr Doktors of Fortress Europa, but in some parts of the world, “remote area” and “cellular network coverage” are mutually exclusive……

    From reading the headline, and decades riding and dealing with BMW, I assumed the mother ship was set to launch a $100/month, global coverage satellite connectivity option. For all those retired folks who tipped their GSAs over in the mud of Mongolia, and realized they no longer had the strength to get it back upright.