The self-driving motorcycle unveiled last week by German automaker BMW was a disappointment to some – after all, no one can buy it.
Instead, it was created by researchers working for BMW to better understand riding dynamics.
The motorcycle, which can turn, accelerate and brake on its own, can be viewed in a video released by BMW on Youtube, which you can see for yourself below.
It looks scary – although we are likely to have Level 5 autonomous vehicles on the road in the not-that-distant future, the thought of an autonomous bike cruising the streets is somewhat disconcerting.
And what would be the point?
After all, autonomous vehicles like self-driving vans, buses and trucks have a goal – to transport goods and people without the need for a driver.
But BMW’s driverless bike instead has a specific goal – for the past 2 years, German researchers have been developing and testing the bike under a cloak of secrecy.
But now that secret is out, as Stefan Hans explains from the BMW Motorrad labs.
“The prototype helps us to expand our knowledge of the vehicles dynamics so that we can classify the riders behaviour to determine if a future situation will become dangerous or not,” he says.
If so, we can inform, warn or intervene directly.”
The ultimate aim is to develop technologies that will support inattentive drivers, Hans continues.
“In this project it was not our goal to develop a fully automated motorcycle. We wanted to improve motorcycle safety,” he says.
Eventually, the team hope to understand riding dynamics to the point that they can add comfort and safety systems to their production bikes.