When it comes to traffic laws, motorcyclists in India and its adjoining countries top the chart for disobeying them. The mistaken perception of freedom on the streets often leads to fatal ways of bidding goodbye to the world. Despite the civic authorities urging the riders to opt for a helmet to have a remote chance of surviving accidents on these death traps, it becomes ‘an absolute necessity’ for the riders to carry the helmets on their arms instead of wearing them or talk on the phones while speeding through congested streets; they come up later with excuses such as ‘experiencing the wind-in-the-hair’ and ‘I-know-what’s-good-for-me’.
However, a startup from Pakistan intends to embed a sense of smartness amongst the ‘daredevil’ motorcycle riders with an affordable smart helmet. Called the HELLI (sounds like cornflakes), the helmet looks like any other conventional commuter-focused helmet but has a lot of tech under its skin. For starters, it has got all the stuff you require while riding embedded smartly in the body — a speaker, a microphone, a Bluetooth receiver for transferring calls through them, a GPS tracker and even a heart rate monitor.
However, the helmet also comes with its head-mounted camera for recording (similar to a dashcam in a car) and two indicators for letting other motorists know which side are you turning (useful if you don’t know how to operate the bike’s indicator control). The HELLI’s party piece is its SOS mode — it uses its GPS tracker to send a distress call to your family as well as an ambulance service. If you were wondering whether it needs some kind of Internet connection, then you are wrong — the HELLI makes a call through your phone, eliminating the need for any other kind of connection requirements.
This is not the first time someone has attempted a smart helmet. Skully came up with a smart helmet in 2013 that could do similar things but cost its buyers a $1,000 (the company went bust eventually). HELLI’s creators — Lets Innovate, has planned on a minimum sticker price of about $50 (roughly Rs 3,000) to a max of up to $99 for the top variant with all the bells and whistles. Considering the protection it offers, the HELLI should sell well in a country like India, provided the company plans to sell it outside Pakistan. However, the major challenge with the HELLI is its target audience — riders will ultimately have to wear them instead of carrying it around in their arms.