Camera to replace motorcycle mirrors?

A new helmet rearview camera system is safer than conventional mirrors, according to four-time World Superbike champion Carl Fogarty.

In this video, the world champ says the British Zona camera system means he can concentrate on the road ahead while still keeping an eye on the rear vision via a screen in his periphery vision.

The British start-up claims they will guarantee to start shipping on June 30, 2017, at £175 (about A$280) for this who pre-order and £225 (about A$360) after release.

It’s basically a head-up display system just for rear vision, not for other information such as speed and satnav instructions as proposed in some of the other head-up display systems proposed.

Other developers include BMW, KTM, BikeHUD, Seemore and Skully which failed when company directors squandered their crowd-funding funds on fast cars and women.

But this is not a crowd-funding project. It seems it is going to production and with Carl’s endorsement it seems to be legitimate.

We’re not sure whether this sort of technology will consign motorcycle mirrors to the history books, but we can understand some of the advantages.

Inventor and rider John Hale says he decided to make the system after “too many close calls” on his bike.

“The inherent problem with motorcycles is that the mirrors just do not work very well,” John says. “You’ve got a very small reflected image and, because of the position of the mirrors, mostly you’re seeing your elbows.”

We agree that many motorcycles have mirrors that are too low, too small, obscured by your elbows, or vibrate so much because of the engine that all you see is a blur.

The Zona system uses a small camera on the back of the helmet that transmits an image via a secure wireless link to the receiver/battery unit.

The video signal is decoded and then shown to the rider on a screen fitted to the end of a flexible arm fitted inside your helmet.

The flexible arm should allow you to position it just right so it isn’t a distraction but can be seen in your periphery vision.

It sounds like it would make you go cross-eyed, but Zona claims their optics fool the eye into focusing on the screen as though it was about three metres away.

You can also store the video in case you want to review it or use it in evidence after a crash.

Zona says it will fit most helmets. It seems the flexible arm will even allow it to be used on open-face and modular helmets, unlike some other systems previously proposed.

They are also offering a 28-day money back guarantee and £50 cash back and interest free credit for approved British motorcycle insurance.