The PIONEERS project: Protective Innovations of New Equipment for Enhanced Rider Safety


    Statistics show that Europe’s roads have become safer in the past decade, but progress remains too slow.  The EU road safety policy framework 2021-2030 establishes a new 50% reduction target for deaths and, for the first time, also for serious injuries. The Stockholm Declaration of February 2020 paves the way for further global political commitment for the next decade.

    In this direction, PIONEERS (Protective Innovations of New Equipment for Enhanced Rider Safety) aims to reduce the number of Powered Two-Wheeler (PTW) rider fatalities and severely injured riders by increasing the safety, performance, comfort and usage rate of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), and the development of new on-board safety devices.

    Four main pillars are built around the figure of the powered two-wheeler user, with the objective of enhancing the four most critical areas in PTW safety: improved injury assessment, safety system performance (both Personal Protective Equipment and on-board systems), reliable test, assessment methods and the use of PPEs, as well as increased awareness.

    The main goal of the PIONEERS project is to improve the safety of powered two-wheelers by providing an integrated approach to rider protection considering on-rider (PPE) and on-board systems. Therefore, this project investigates and assesses the direct contribution to the reduction of fatalities and severity of injuries, as well as the number of injured PTW users by developing new PPEs and on-board safety systems, improving the validation and assessment methods and increasing the usage rate of such devices.

    IDIADA Homologation department and Passive Safety department are involved in the Project by defining advanced testing methods for the different PPESs developed in the project. The Homologation division is in charge of the validation tests for the PPEs and the Passive Safety division is in charge of the performance of 4 full-scale crash tests for the validation of the on-board safety systems.

    Main expected results of the PIONEERS project

    The main results of the PIONEERS project will be:

    • Prioritise the most safety-critical accident scenarios and develop methods to identify relevant future safety issues.
    • Develop improved injury criteria to assess the injury risk on the most critical body regions.
    • Design field-effectiveness driven test methods (virtual and physical) with a high degree of reliability and repeatability to assess the current and future safety systems under realistic impact conditions and to provide input to the standarisation groups (e.g. CEN).
    • Define the system requirements of the PPEs and on-board safety systems of the future for optimal rider protection.
    • Develop the new generation of PPEs and on-board safety systems (prototypes).
    • Assess the effectiveness of the prototype PPEs and newly developed test configurations.
    • Develop advanced design tools and improved products by establishing minimum performance requirements to better inform the final user and to differentiate high-quality European products from ones that offer a lower level of protection.

    The IDIADA Division coordinates the whole project and ensures its successful execution through professional and effective management.

    PIONEER´s development

    The project management methods and tools of PIONEERS are based on experience in many past successful European Research and Innovation Actions.

    In addition to managing the project, IDIADA also leads a Work Package (WP) whose main objective is to transfer of results from other WPs into reliable test methods and the associated assessment, to ensure the protection of the user with the best balance between repeatability, reproducibility, and reliability.

    Current status of the PIONEERS project

    2020 has been an unexpected and uncertain year for all organisations due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Bearing in mind that almost every organisation involved in the project has suffered at least one lockdown and their normal workflow has been affected, PIONEERS has requested an extension of 6 months, according to the European Commission guidelines.

    PIONEERS has continued working but has been slowed down by the restrictions applied throughout the European Union and as a result of the internal procedures implemented by each organisation to keep employees safe. However, PIONEERS partners have been working on trying to anticipate possible risks which could hamper the project’s timing and results.

    PIONEERS project testing for 2021

    In the second half of 2020, Alpinestars’ boots were tested in different positions and their performance was corroborated.

    During the first half of 2021, the project will test two jackets equipped with airbags from two PPE manufacturers, MOTOAIRBAG and REV’IT!. The main objective is to study their behaviour in different impact conditions to show results during the coming Working Group sessions and, if needed, propose updated recommendations to the standard.

    Additionally, regarding the activities related to on-board safety systems, 4 full-scale crash tests will be conducted. This test suite will correspond to two tests with DUCATI motorcycles and two tests with PIAGGIO ones. In each case, one test without on-board safety measure will be done and compared with the tests using the countermeasure. These tests will all represent a car-to-motorcycle intersection crash and will be assessed using a special motorcyclist dummy. The test results will be used to correlate the simulation models and to estimate the safety benefit achieved by using the on-board safety measures developed by PIONEERS.

    For the second half of 2021, the project will celebrate the final event in order to present the results obtained so far and the improvements developed within the project.


    By Marta Tobar & Enric Soriano

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