We have heard about a driverless car in recent years – Waymo , a Google’s Project which is still in testing and here at CES 2019 BMW Motorrad demonstrated its riderless motorcycle prototype.
Developed by BMW Engineers on the company’s BMW R 1200 GS , the vehicle independently drives off, accelerates, circles a winding test track and independently slows down to a stop.
BMW’s motorbike has been in work since 2014, however, the goal is not to bring such a bike for mass production and public consumption. Instead, the goal is to use separate pieces of the technology to help motorcycles navigate a streetscape where other autonomous vehicles are on the road, to develop safety features for riders, and add assistance, or autonomy to a bike for riders.
What the company learns from the robot-controlled motorcycle will go into its safety and driving systems for its human-driven bikes. This isn’t testing for full-fledged self-driving motorcycles. Instead, the tech developed through the prototype will help riders stay stable, avoid obstacles on the road, and manage other dangerous situations, like when they need to brake quickly.
Unlike Honda’s self-driving bike, there are no fancy gyros spinning, or extending steering heads. Well, there are panniers full of widgets and gizmos to make sure the bike doesn’t topple over. All these wires and motherboards communicate to a steering actuator motor, clutch, throttle and gears plus an automatic sidestand that keep it upright.
To conclude, BMW Motorrad has demonstrated how the rapid pace of digitization will change the future of motorcycling.