There Is An Autonomous Motorcycle On The Streets, But It’s Not What You Imagine


You’ve read all about the driverless cars in the market, and it’s a push by automotive makes to be part of the latest automotive technology fad. But there are still quite a few challenges ahead for the truly automated car before self-driving cars become mainstream.

One of those challenges is motorcycles on the road. Motorcyclists often feel invisible to the other drivers on the road while riding. So it’s no surprise that autonomous self driving technology struggle to properly assess motorcycles and how to interact with them. Because autonomous cars learn from real-life testing, and because there is also a risk of something going wrong, testing their interactions with motorcycles has been problematic.

But how do you put a technology to the test without also putting a rider at risk?

Well there is help, thanks to the brilliant minds at AB Dynamics, who have come up with an obvious but clever answer to the problem: a riderless bike.

Image from:  AB Dynamics

Image from: AB Dynamics

AB Dynamics has lent its RC (remote controlled) software to the motorcycle BMW C1. This bike is able to maneuver and follow test cars, without the intervention of a rider. The model was an easy pick thanks to its clutchless powertrain and convenient roof that can be used to mount sensors.

Image from:  iMotorbike

Image from: iMotorbike

But the C1 is only the beginning. According to Dr. Richard Simpson, senior systems engineer at AB Dynamics, there are more powerful machines being developed that will help to push the tests even further. He also believes that autonomous motorcycles will be useful for other applications, such as durability tests.

If you were hoping to kick back and relax while enjoying the thrill of the ride, you’ll have to wait and keep doing all the dirty work that comes with riding: the autonomous bike isn’t ready to fill in. Yet. With the technology now available, who knows? One day, you may very well be on an autonomous motorcycle cruising down the highway.

But where’s the thrill of the ride then? In the meantime, thanks to this tech, the chances of a carefree driver running you over will eventually decrease.

What do you think? Aren’t you glad they’re doing so much tests for the good of motorcyclists everywhere? Leave a comment below!