BMW, Yamaha and Honda motorbikes are changing the landscape of motorcycling as they release their autonomous bikes for the first time. The German automaker BMW unveiled its first self-driving motorbike BMW R1200 GS at the Mira mas testing ground circuit in France.
Last year Honda motorbikes became self-balancing as the Riding Assist was released at CES. It uses robotic technology to balance itself, instead of traditionally using gyroscopes. Gyroscopes tend to be heavier and change how riding the bike feels, and so, replacing it with a robotic technology is expected to enhance the riding experience.
Yamaha, on the other hand, revealed Motobot three years ago. It was developed under the company’s partnership with Menlo Park. Menlo Park is a research firm based in California. Early this year, Yamaha revealed Motoroid, which uses artificial intelligence as well as self-balancing technology. However, it isn’t completely autonomous.
BMW’s latest addition was developed by Stefan Hans. It is a driverless motorcycle that successfully drove, sped up, circled the test track, and slowed down all on its own.
Not Up for Sale
This exciting new technology seems like the future of motorcycling and transportation, but BMW has released it statement saying that they have no intention of selling the completely independent motorbike in the near future. They plan to use the technology to improve the systems and functions of existing vehicles to make motorcycling safer. The prototype would be used to gather data regarding driving dynamics, which could help detect dangerous situations and provide safety systems to the driver should the need arise. This could be used at intersections or suddenly braking.
Visible Energy CEO Marco Graziano explains that motorcycles, intrinsically, are dangerous. As a lifelong Ducati rider, he attests that the driver’s dedication, skills, and a bit of chance all play a part in its safety.
Anthony Levandowski helped to build the very first driverless car under Google. He then started Otto, a semi-truck startup that was then acquired by Uber. This was one of the first steps towards self-driving vehicles. In 2004, he created the Ghost Rider for the DARPA Grand Challenge that year. Although he did not win the competition, the Ghost Rider is considered an early pioneer for autonomous motorcycles.