The 900 euro backpack from Evoc offers airbag crash protection
The IAA Mobility is taking place in Munich for the first time this week. The former International Motor Show in Frankfurt this year presented a sustainable mobility theme with the motto “What will move us next” and a focus on electric vehicles, “Mobility of the future”, and bicycles.
With this new focus on sustainability, the fair has dedicated two halls to cycling for the first time. I am on site at the New Munich Trade Fair Center to experience the new focus of the trade fair on sustainability and the latest offers from numerous brands at first hand.
The German bag manufacturer Evoc is a brand that gives us a glimpse into the future at the IAA Mobility. On the first morning of the trade fair, Evoc presented its new Commute Air Pro 18 backpack, a commuter backpack with an integrated airbag and back protector. The sensor-controlled airbag in the bag inflates in 0.2 seconds when it detects a fall and offers the driver neck, shoulder, back, collarbone and chest protection.
Backpacks and travel bags are no stranger and Evoc turned to the airbag specialist Minerva-AS GmbH to develop an airbag for use in this everyday backpack. The result is a rechargeable, reusable (not that you want to use the airbag in the first place), sensor-controlled airbag that is able to analyze the position of the rider and backpack 1,100 times per second to detect falls and falls.
In the event of a fall, an electric detonator triggers the inflation of the airbag and the airbag then bursts through the QuickBurst zipper from YKK, which was specially developed for quick opening in an emergency, and unfolds into its full protective state. As mentioned earlier, the whole process only takes 0.2 seconds to ensure that the driver is protected from an impact. I’ve never measured how long it takes to hit the ground, but 0.2 seconds certainly sounds fast.
Evoc claims that the Commute Air Pro can reduce a cyclist’s force and braking acceleration by up to 80%. The inflated bag has a maximum pressure of 0.4 bar (5.8 psi), with sustained pressure for five seconds after inflation before loss. Combined with a claimed protection of five to ten seconds, the driver should experience a level of protection for the first impact and all subsequent impacts before coming to a standstill.
The rechargeable sensor battery has a running time of 32 hours and has a USB charging port. In the unfortunate scenario where the airbag needs to be inflated, the airbag folds itself back into the backpack; only the CO2 pressure vessel needs to be replaced. Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as throwing an inflatable CO2 canister out of your saddlebag; instead, a larger cassette will be available from Evoc.
Since the system is dependent on sensors and is activated by sudden movements and changes in position, Evoc has integrated an electric magnetic lock, developed in collaboration with Fidlock, to prevent the airbag from being deployed when it is not needed. The system is activated by connecting the buckle to a green LED that indicates that it is under tension. Once released, the buckle deactivates the sensors so that no nasty airbag explosions occur if you toss the bag back down after a long day in the office. However, keep this in mind as you bend over to lock your bike away from the office.
For additional protection, Evoc has integrated its detachable Liteshield Plus back protector along the entire length of the backpack for additional protection of the spine in the event of a fall. Evoc will even replace the back protector free of charge if it shows signs of damage after a crash.
The bag is still a bag, however, and Evoc has found space for 18 liters of storage space, in addition to the 18 liters used by the sensor, canister and airbag. The placement of the canister and sensor eats into the storage space of the main compartment, but I would find a way to cram the contents around these for the added protection the bag is supposed to provide.
Another good news is that the bag is made from recycled polyester. With an easily accessible laptop compartment, compartments for phone, glasses and accessories, and an elastic side pocket, Evoc has also incorporated all of its bag-making expertise into the Commute Air Pro. The hip belt is adjustable in height and the bag has seamless shoulder straps for extra comfort. Evoc has also added reflective panels for a little extra visibility. One thing that I think is missing is a loop to attach a taillight and maybe a lighter color option for even more visibility.
Evoc plans to launch the bag from spring 2022, initially only in this 18L size, but the brand is hoping to introduce more sizes, starting with a smaller bag with a smaller back protector.
The idea of an airbag for cyclists is not new – Hövding has offered one for a long time helmet-replacing airbag – but Evoc is the first to integrate an airbag for commuting into a backpack. Evoc points to the increasingly busy nature of urban streets, the often poor cycling infrastructure and the fear of accidents as factors preventing more people from commuting by bike. These factors have motivated Evoc to develop a new range of safety products for commuting.
The backpack and airbag protection sound good, but there is a catch: the Commute Air Pro 18 sells for € 900 (international price TBC). In addition, a CO2 canister refill costs 40 € per pop. That’s a hell of a lot of money for a backpack and will no doubt make it out of reach for many. However, the technology and use case is exciting and the extra protection the bag is designed to provide could be invaluable. Hopefully this price will go down over time.
Find out more at Evocsports.com.