It’s quite a first. BMW Motorrad has rolled out the first riderless motorcycle. It’s further proof artificial intelligence is anything but. AI Ideas were once considered unreal. Now they are getting more real every day.
The BMW prototype AI bike was developed by a team. It was led by graduate engineer, Stefan Hans. The concept was based on the popular model, the BMW R 1200 GS.
The first riderless motorcycle is a fully autonomous bike. It was unveiled at a testing ground in France last week. Here’s what two years of research and development showed it can do:
- Driving off from a parked location
- Leaning into turns around a winding track
- Increasing and decreasing speed
- Coming to a complete stop
The first riderless motorcycle won’t be a best-seller like the BMW R 1200 GS. You won’t even be able to buy one for bragging rights among your friends. The Bavarian manufacturer says “in the near future,” it has no intention of bringing a completely independent motorcycle to market.
Instead, the company’s plan is to add “more stability in critical driving situations.” The intelligence acquired from the artificial intelligence powered bike will be used to improve motorcycle safety, and the riding experience. This includes developing plans for new and better functions and systems with driving assistance technology.
Much like with cars, plans are to start by taking on the most avoidable motorcycle accidents. This would include issues like changing lanes and making turns at intersections.
Any motorcyclist can see the differences between cars and motorcycles. AI has real challenges in trying to fully automate 2-wheeled vehicles. For instance, balancing the bike is always a concern. Plus, automatic anti-collision braking systems seem dangerous. Any forced sudden stops created by technology could send riders flying off their motorcycles.
BMW Motorrad does not have autonomy over an autonomous motorcycle. Other manufacturers have kickstarted similar projects.
Last year, Honda unveiled a robotic technology for self-balancing a bike. Three years ago, Yamaha introduced a concept vehicle with a humanoid. It used artificial intelligence, and a self-balancing technology as well. However, the bike couldn’t ride itself.
Artificial intelligence is for real, even with motorcycles. No doubt there are more developments coming down the road. The first riderless motorcycle may not be the last.