Motorcycle riding season is getting underway -- and there's a giant cloud hanging over the industry.
It's the question everyone has been asking: 'Will millennials start riding and (more importantly) start buying motorcycles again?"
Well, the jury is still out.
But, there are some interesting things happening in the industry that make me hopeful, especially when it comes to augmented reality and artificial intelligence.
SMART TECHNOLOGY MEETS SAFETY
Meet Skully Tehnologies, an augmented reality, artificial intelligence, wearable tech company.
Its first product is a motorcycle helmet that has augmented reality and artificial intelligence features.
It's called the Skully Fenix AR.
Riders will get their hands on it later this summer at a price point of $1,899. A prototype of the helmet got plenty of buzz earlier this year at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, NV. You can read more about that here: TheStreet's top futuristic unveils from the event.
Before you start complaining about the high cost, Chief Operating Officer John Lauten says the features make it worth every penny!
FENIX AR SMART HELMET
Highlights: Heads-Up Display, Carbon Fiber Shell, DOT Certified, Rear View Camera, Smart Phone and Bluetooth Integration, Hands-Free Control and much more. Fenix AR 1.0 isn't even on the road and Skully is already talking 2.0! You can bet there are even more features, but no guarantee that we'll see a price drop.
Lauten believes 'smart technologies' will be the tipping point for young riders who are on the fence about getting onto a motorcycle in the first place. He says AR and AI will not only improve safety and connectivity but will also reshape they entire transportation ecosystem.
How safe is it? The helmet is DOT approved, which meets the minimum safety regulations in North America. To ensure maximum protection, it would have SNELL certification.
Lauten is part of a new leadership team assembled by co-founders (and cousins) Ivan Contreras and Rafael Contreras.
The Silicon Valley start-up, originally called Skully Inc., sadly was involved in an IndieGoGo crowdfunding fiasco. The company went belly up and investors and riders who pre-ordered were left high and dry. That's when the Contreras came along. They changed the company's name and vowed to #MakeItRight.
As for Ivan, he is not only at the helm of Skully, but he also is the CEO of two other companies: Torrot, a smart vehicles company with e-Bikes, Velocipedos, motorbikes and more; and GasGas, aimed at those with an off-road passion.
The Skully-Torrot-GasGas trifecta might just be a smart business ecosystem that can benefit from each other, while still attracting the next generation of rider and keeping them safer, no matter if the vehicle is a motorcycle, scooter or e-bike.
Ah, I see the sun coming out after all.