BMW builds a riderless R1200GS

Daniel Fowler
September 16, 2018

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Why it matters: Now that the self-driving vehicle industry has begun to mature, carmaker BMW is shifting its sights to one of the most risky forms of transportation out there - motorcycles.

The motorcycle uses similar technologies to those already featured in vehicles such as the 7-Series and 5-Series sedans, utilising high-definition cameras and radar sensors to read its surroundings.

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BMW Motorrad's first autonomous motorbike was presented last week at the BMW Motorrad Techday 2018.

BMW hasn't fully disclosed the suite of technology required for its prototype, which allows the bike to ride on its own, but everything required fits into two cases mounted on either side of the seat. The goal of the prototype is to gain additional knowledge relating to the driving dynamics in order to detect risky situations prematurely and support the driver with appropriate safety systems for example, turning at intersections or when braking suddenly. BMW Motorrad is specific in that it's not trying to develop a completely independent motorcycle.

BMW says that it has no interest in creating a riderless bike and the team will use this test platform to understand motorcycle riding dynamics better. The advantage of 3D printing lies in the complete freedom of designing components that could not be produced in any other way. BMW promises it has no intention to take away riders' freedoms, but a safer motorcycle never sounds like a poor idea. BMW Motorrad is taking two-wheeler needs into consideration for tomorrow's world of transport and preparing for it technically. The electronic system will help to build the safe path detour obstacles, and gyroscopes will improve the stability of the motorcycle in extreme situations.

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