Automated driving has been one of the biggest goals of the vehicle industry for a long time. Companies like Tesla have been at the forefront of pushing to get driverless cars on the road. There have been many different variations of programming to try and master automated driving. From simple lane switching and automated braking systems to the highly advanced AI and AR-powered fully automated driving systems, it is safe to say that a reality with driverless cars is closer than we think.
However, BMW Motorrad has looked towards another direction on the future of vehicles and turned to automated motorcycles. Hundreds of additional factors have to be considered to make a motorcycle truly autonomous. They also have to ensure 100% safety for the rider as motorcycles do not have nearly as many safety measures as those in a car. A high percentage of motorcycle accidents prove to be fatal compared to those of cars due to how much of the rider’s environment.
Despite all that, BMW Motorrad has ventured off to bring automation to motorcycles. This is an incredible feat as motorcycles are much more difficult to automate than cars.
Beginning of automated motorbikes
The BMW R 1200 GS was what BMW Motorrad came up with as an attempt to make an autonomous motorbike. While the bike itself isn’t nearly ready for the road, it can serve to be a platform for engineers to better program a more suited system for everyday usage.
That being said, the BMW Motorrad’s motorbike has a perfectly maintained balance, navigating a track and altering speed as needed. So it would seem that autonomous motorcycles aren’t that far-fetched either, right? However, motorcycles are much more complicated as they are a whole different concept than autonomous cars.
It is challenging to program a system that can navigate and drive the motorcycle whilst maintaining balance on different terrain qualities, which BMW Motorrad attempted to tackle with their vehicle. Apart from that, companies also have to consider adjusting to the different proportions of height and weight that the riders may have.
The BMW Motorrad’s motorbike is still incredibly promising as a stepping stone towards the right path. Autonomous driving cars were also initially flawed, and it still has a few imperfections. Until driver and pedestrian safety can be assured, these vehicles won’t be used by the public in the streets, but it won’t be long before we do. Eventually, all forms of vehicular transportation will probably be automated, and vehicles like the BMW R 1200 GS show that the autonomous vehicles’ future is promising.
YouTube: BMW R 1200 GS Is the Self-Driving Motorcycle
Photo credits: The images used are owned by BMW and have been provided for press usage.