According to Gizmag, the Kawasaki 1400GTR is set to get night vision in 2010. A feature we can already see in the auto industry being used by BMW and Mercedes-Benz, the night vision will operate as both an obstacle detection aid, and also a vision enhancement while riding at night. This comes as an addition to the variable valve timing, tire pressure sensors, and keyless ignition that already come on the 2009 model that exemplifies 1400GTR as a technology proving ground for Kawasaki, much like how the VFR is for Honda.
The infrared system, developed by Kawasaki itself, would operate from the mounts of both of the rear view mirrors on the bike. Picking out images even in pitch darkness, these two cameras work together like a pair of eyes to give a stereoscopic view to the bike’s on-board computer, thus allowing it to judge how far away objects are, and then alerting the rider if there’s anything in his path that’s beyond the reach of the conventional headlights.
The technology therefore also functions as an anti-collision tool, but given that it is based on heat-sensor lights, it would only work for animals, people, and anything else that is warmer than the general background. It would not work for obstacles like branches, rocks, and ex-wives, all of which lacking any sort of warmth beyond the ambient.
The anti-collision feature would either appear on an LCD display mounted into the gauge cluster, or signal the rider though an audio warning via Bluetooth in the rider’s helmet. By going beyond simply revealing an extended view into the darkness, the dash-mounted screen would identify objects and highlight them, and also perhaps display how far the object is from the bike
Gizmag states that we can expect to see the night vision setup as early as next year, with an unveiling at Paris motorcycle show this autumn. It is not clear if the night vision system would come as a standard feature, or as a Kawasaki aftermarket part.