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BMW Unveils Autonomous Motorbike

Hot on the heels of the Intellicar showcase in WA earlier this week, German motoring powerhouse BMW has unveiled an autonomous bike that leans into corners and brakes by itself. 

The bike, which is powered by intelligent software that allows it to also accelerate and park at will, is the latest iteration of the automaker’s AI program.

BMW hopes the program will in the future greatly assist bikers by operating as an autonomous driving assistant that adjusts steering during dangerous situations on the road.

The prototype started life as an R 1200 GS model and comes with an antenna installed on a storage case behind the driver’s seat.

It scopes out the road ahead, analysing bends and can bring the bike to a complete stop when required, lowering a kickstand into place on the ground which it leans on like a normal bike.

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.

Given motorbike riders are far more likely to be injured or killed in road accidents, improving their safety is something BMW has long prioritised.

However, the company admitted that there are major challenges ahead, such as while a car’s autonomous safety system can hit the brakes in an emergency without injuring the driver, that situation is completely different for a bike and its unrestrained rider.

Commenting on the unveiling, BMW project leader Stefan Hans said: “The prototype helps us expand our knowledge about the vehicle’s dynamics, so we can classify the rider’s behaviour and see if a future situation will become dangerous or not. If so, we can inform, warn, or intervene directly.”

The company has given no indication of when the technology will be commercialised or when it might be incorporated into one of its own models. 


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