BMW, known for its luxury cars and sporty motorbikes has now built a self driving two-wheeler powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI). In a video put out by the German automotive giant, the new system can be seen firing up an R1200 touring bike and driving off down a track.
The bike is able to plot its own route and drive down the track and even come to a stop on its own, popping out the kick stand just before coming to a smooth halt. The AI is seen accelerating and turning all on its own in the short clip. This system, however, was originally imagined and developed as a way to make motorbike riding safer, notes a report by Futurism.
BMW engineer Stefan Hans in the video actually points out the fact that they did not intend to actually build a self-riding motorbike when they started working on this project. The idea was to create a system that could improve safety with lane keeping and an autonomous braking, similar to the tech that goes into cars that BMW builds.
However, BMW is not the only company to build riderless motorbikes. Last October, Yamaha showed off their Motobot, a robot that was physically sat upon one of their bikes. It was agile fast, and had serious cornering abilities. The company went so far as to even race it against Valentino Rossi. While the robot was crushed in the race, the technology was meant to show off an AI that can be placed on a motorbike without making any physical changes to the structure of the vehicle itself.
This is similar to what BMW have done, albeit using the luggage racks to store the systems instead of a robot. The BMW bikes can, however, be driven by a human operator as well, so it can be seen as an assistive system.
Will this mean bikes could join the future fleet of automated cars and trucks in the service industry, making deliveries and such? As the report points out, bikes do consume less fuel, and the novelty factor is really high, so one could only hope.