A patent filed by Yamaha Japan outlines a system for leaning vehicles (our beloved motorcycles) that alerts a third party when the vehicle is overturned in an accident. While this sounds very similar to BMW’s eCall and other systems, the Yamaha patent appears to be unique in that it also includes a flashing light and horn feature to go along with the third party notification.

The system outlined in the Yamaha patent relies on a radio or cellular connection to notify a third party of an overturn, which is detected by sensors on the bike. Many modern motorcycles now have an IMU (Inertial Measurement Unit) that can precisely detect the vehicle’s position, attitude, and speed for this purpose, although a simple tip-over sensor and speed sensor would likely suffice as well.

Upon overturn, the system simultaneously alerts the rider of the overturn, flashes the lights, honks the horn, and begins the process of contacting the third party. The rider has the opportunity to cancel the outside communications if they see fit.

Interestingly, the Yamaha patent references the BMW eCall system in the citation section under “Non Patent Literature”, presumably indicating that the BMW eCall system is not patented, and possibly preventing BMW from including features from the Yamaha patent from being implemented without permission from the Japanese manufacturer.

The Yamaha filing also lists Japanese patent number 2001-184580 in the citations, but unfortunately we were not able to find an English translation of this document.

Similar systems have been around in cars ever since GM implemented the OnStar system, and the idea of having a motorcycle’s lights flash and horn sound after an accident should help riders from being struck after an initial accident.


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