Self-driving cars are the latest craze among car manufacturers. However, their two-wheeled counterparts haven’t shown much interest in going autonomous. The only two self-riding concepts showcased by major two-wheeler brands have been the Honda ‘riding assist’ technology and the Yamaha Motoroid. In the recent past, though, manufacturers have been focusing on making their products safer. Ducati and KTM showcased a radar- and sensor-based system to notify riders about blind spots and have also used the same tech for adaptive cruise control. And now, BMW Motorrad has taken autonomous riding a step further with its new concept.
Dubbed the ConnectedRide self-driving motorcycle, the new concept showcased is based on the BMW R 1200 GS and according to the German brand, it is a test bed for improving rider safety. According to BMW, the autonomous bike has been developed with a purpose of helping engineers integrate safety systems with a human rider efficiently. It still wants the rider to be in control of the motorcycle and says that the safety system will warn, inform or intervene directly depending on the emergency situation.
Understandably, BMW hasn’t given out much in detail on how the autonomous technology works. However, it seems that the autonomous BMW R 1200 GS has a steering actuator motor while clutch, throttle and gear inputs are handled by a sensor. What we know is that there are no fancy sensors or adaptive steering head to balance the motorcycle. The BMW system goes with a simpler approach and tries to mimic how a human rider balances a bike. It’s a spooky sight to see a motorcycle balance itself and ride around a corner all on its own, and the party trick is the side stand which is automatically deployed once the motorcycle is about to halt. Although an autonomous motorcycle is still a few years away from coming into production, we feel the real joy of riding is when the rider is in control of the handlebar. What’s your opinion on autonomous two-wheelers? Share your opinion in the comments section.