BMW see into the future with new head-up display ConnectedRide Smartglasses

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BMW are taking integrated rider technology to the next level, launching a new pair of head-up display (HUD) glasses to beam important journey data straight into a rider’s line of sight.

The ConnectedRide smartglasses are worn as a regular pair under a helmet and sync with the BMW Motorrad Connected smartphone app to project speed, navigation instructions and gear selection into the rider’s peripheral vision. They come with two swappable lenses as standard (clear and tinted) and the frames are designed to accept prescription lenses, too.

They’re claimed to be the first manufacturer-supported smart eyewear available for motorcyclists and are designed to ensure riders spend less time looking down at their dials and more time looking at the road ahead. It’s a clever example of augmented reality, blending the virtual world with a rider’s physical surroundings to keep them better informed with minimal distraction.

BMW ConnectedRide Smartglasses being worn by a rider

What are they like to wear?

We got the chance to test a pair at an exclusive preview in Munich ahead of launch and found they worked well. Users can tailor the location of the data to suit, which by default appears top right of your line of sight. As with most HUD systems, it takes a while to adjust to the data being beamed onto your surroundings, but it’s not too distracting and you can choose the amount being displayed.

“[The] glasses are a great feature for bikers who want to see all their important journey stats and info whenever they need it,” Vice President of Customer, Brand and Sales, Stephan Reiff said. “Head-up displays are becoming commonplace in BMW’s cars and now we have the chance to offer it to riders on two wheels.”

How does it work?

Tim Pollard samples the Smartglasses for MCN

BMW has partnered with Everysight, a technology specialist based in Israel who have been developing Raptor smartglasses for cyclists for the past 20 years.

The ConnectedRide frame feels a little heavier than regular sunglasses, owing to the tech packed inside: each arm holds a small lithium-ion battery to power the system and there’s a graphics processor and projector onboard, too.

There’s also a hidden light sensor on board and an integrated optics module to ensure that the projection can be seen, no matter whether ambient light is low or glaringly bright.

BMW ConnectedRide Smartglasses perched on a seat

Crucially, the smartglasses don’t look too gawky to wear; passers-by will likely be none the wiser. You don’t need to plug them in while you ride and the device syncs wirelessly to your smartphone, which must have the BMW Motorrad Connected app installed in order to operate.

The app beams in the latest speed, navigation, and gear selection (on petrol bikes) onto the lens at infinite focal length, so the rider’s eye doesn’t struggle to track between two things to focus on.

BMW claims up to 10 hours of battery life and owners charge the smartglasses using a clip-on charger that connects to a USB. Light intensity can be dimmed for night rides or boosted for bright sunlight, and the projection position can be moved via a multicontroller on the handlebars.

Motorrad, which is celebrating its centenary this summer, confirmed European prices for the smartglasses at €690 (£590).

BMW ConnectedRide Smartglasses explored

  • The BMW smartglasses are available in medium and large sizes, with different nose pads to accommodate different face shapes. Medium is for a distance between pupils of 53-67mm, and large will fit 59-73mm.
  • Use the 85% transparent lenses if you want to wear the smartglasses with a tinted visor. All lenses provided are certified to filter UVA and UVB sunlight and meet all optical regulations.
  • Want to fit prescription lenses to the frame? The ConnectedRide smartglasses come with an RX adaptor to let your optician adjust the lenses to the required visual acuity up to four dioptres (a unit measuring a lens’s refractive power).
  • Riders can tweak how much info is being beamed into their line of sight: nav instructions can be toned down to simple turn arrows, or more detailed mapping with street names, junctions and more.
BMW ConnectedRide Smartglasses
Tim Pollard

By Tim Pollard