A Motorcycle Robot May Soon Help Make Motorcycling Safer
We’re always complaining about how robots will rise up and snatch up all our jobs, but today we want to thank the robots for taking over a job and researching ways to make us all safer. What are we talking about? Well, BMW has created a self-riding motorcycle that can start from a stop, negotiate curves and corners, and come back to a halt, all without a human intervention.
It may look like a gaudy piece of sci-fi marketing but BMW is making plenty of inroads into making motorcycling safer for us human riders.
Research has shown that motorcycle riders die at a rate 28 times higher than people driving a car. It’s safe to say, then, that motorcycles stand to benefit from the recent boom in the development of self-driving technology. There will definitely be challenges ahead, but with technology growing, it looks more possible than ever.
BMW Motorrad, the company's two-wheeled division, developed this ConnectedRide self-driving motorcycle as a testbed for advanced motorcycle safety equipment. The autonomous bike is being used to help researchers and engineers integrate safety systems; like systems that help you navigate around an obstacle, or prevent you from drifting out of your lane, and make them operate more smoothly with a human rider.
BMW Motorrad says it’s been working on the technology for more than two years, and the effort shows. The goal is to develop advanced safety systems that will help motorcyclists stay in control during emergency braking or when negotiating intersections or tight turns, similar to the lane-keeping, autonomous braking, and front impact avoidance programs that many automobiles offer today.
BMW is quick to point out that it doesn't actually want to make humans irrelevant in motorcycling. Rather, this self-guided bike helps BMW develop systems that will make motorcycling safer and easier. BMW says it wants to work some of the technology into its motorcycles to offer “more stability in critical riding situations.” Much like how new cars keep getting slowly but surely endowed with features like automatic emergency braking or lane keep, BMW apparently wants to start by just helping to cut down on the most avoidable accidents.
However, the plan isn’t to sell a fully self-driving motorcycle, or make humans irrelevant in motorcycling. Rather, BMW aims to work in some of the technology into its motorcycles to offer “more stability in critical riding situations.” Some of the features like automatic emergency braking or lane keep, can help to cut down on the most avoidable accidents.
“We want to improve motorcycle safety. We can use that knowledge to develop further comfort and safety systems,” Stefan Hans, the project’s chief engineer, said in a statement. “Self-driving motorcycles on the road remain science fiction,” he added.
You can watch the demo video of the BMW self riding motorcycle here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4JlYE6nSNJI
What do you think about this autonomous motorcycle? Leave a comment below!