ADV Pulse reports that BMW is partnering with Alpinestars on the new BMW Street Air Jacket with integrated airbag. The jacket is motorcycle independent, and does not require any sensors or wires to the bike itself. It senses impact and self inflates instantly.
The jacket needs to be zipped up for it to be activated. It's also reported to be a waterproof jacket. Price is currently unknown. You can read more about it at BMW's site as well.
I'm very excited to see this coming out of BMW. Dainese makes something similar The more airbag systems to hit the market, the better it is for the consumer. It's obviously safer for us, the prices will come down, and the complication around it will go away. This is a great step forward, and I kind of want the jacket for myself now. Anyone want to buy my KLIM ? :)
Other options do exist, as add ons for your existing jacket. Hit-Air and Helite come to mind. They both require tethers to the motorcycle, but seem to offer more protection especially around the neck area. They also offer cost effective cartridge replacements. It's currently unknown what BMW will offer for cartridge replacements if at all.