BMW has made a name for itself in the development of lighting systems for motorcycles that offer cornering light functions, among other things.  With the introduction of a concept based on gimbal technology, BMW is striving to optimize the performance of motorcycle headlights under various conditions.

Previously, BMW has developed systems where the headlights move within their housings to counteract the tilt and movement of the motorcycle.  The adaptive cornering light option “Headlight Pro” on the R 1250 GS, for example, allows the dipped beam to be rotated by up to 35 degrees in both directions to compensate for the tilt when cornering.

 

The innovation: a headlight mounted on a three-axis gimbal

BMW’s latest patent application takes this development further by mounting the entire headlight on a three-axis gimbal.  This technology, similar to camera stabilization systems, is designed to keep the headlight stable while the motorcycle moves underneath.  This system adapts to the tilt, pitch and orientation of the motorcycle to effectively illuminate the road.  It is controlled by the inertial measurement unit (IMU), which monitors the movements of the motorcycle.

 

New approach with the R 1300 GS and integration of a camera

With the new R 1300 GS, BMW is taking a different approach by using an LED matrix that directs the light beam depending on the inclination of the motorcycle without physically moving the headlight.  Interesting in the new patent application is the addition of a camera in the headlight, the exact purpose of which has not yet been specified.  It is assumed that this camera could be used to support other driver assistance systems.  One possible application could be to enable adaptive matrix headlights, a technology found in modern cars that allows the high beam to be used continuously without dazzling oncoming vehicles.

 

Technological progress or just a gimmick?

By combining the gimbal, camera and LED matrix in a single module, BMW is opening up the possibility of transferring advanced lighting technologies to motorcycles.  The design also makes it easier to mount the system on motorcycles without a fairing.  Only time and integration into production motorcycles will tell whether this technology offers real added value or is more of a technical gimmick.

 

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