First, there were self-driving cars. Next up, self-driving motorcycles. BMW Motorrad, the motorcycle division of the German automobile company, presented its first self-driving, riderless motorcycle at the BMW Motorrad Techday 2018 at Miramas, France. The autonomous BMW R1200GS showed its magic by taking its first rounds.
Developed by graduate engineer Stefan Hans and his team, the vehicle independently drives off, leans into turns, and even deploys the kickstand as it comes to a stop.
Through this test platform, the team wants to identify motorcycle riding dynamics to find better ways of adding safety measures on future bikes
BMW Motorrad has been working on this technology for more than two years. However, the team says it has no interest in creating a self-driving bike for the sake of it. Instead, they want to work some of the technology into its conventional bikes to offer “more stability in critical riding situations.”
Hans said, “The prototype helps us to expand our knowledge about the vehicle’s dynamics, so that we can classify the rider’s behavior, and determine if a future situation will become dangerous or not. If so, we can inform, warn, or intervene directly.”
“In this project, it was not our goal to develop a fully automated motorcycle. We want to improve motorcycle safety. It’s the proof that the underlying dynamic model is detailed enough to cope with the whole riding dynamics, so we can use that knowledge to develop further comfort and safety systems.”