Kawasaki usually tries to showcase some of the projects he works on at motorcycle shows like EICMA. Last year, for example, Kawasaki introduced a concept of electric motorcycle and gave an overview of its development. Obviously there are no motorcycle shows this year due to COVID-19, but that hasn’t stopped Kawasaki from showcasing some of its ongoing projects, offering a glimpse of its hybrid motorcycle projects. and artificial intelligence.
In a brief demo video, Kawasaki discussed the potential applications of a hybrid powertrain. The video shows how a motorcycle could use an internal combustion engine for highways, taking advantage of the high horsepower potential of a gasoline system. In urban use, with slower speeds and a lot of stop and go traffic, a hybrid motorcycle could go into pure electric riding mode. The video used Paris, France, as an example, acknowledging the city’s stated goal of banning gasoline vehicles by 2030.
Winding roads could benefit from a hybrid mode, benefiting from both the gasoline engine and the electric motor. The video ends with a hybrid prototype on a dynamometer, first running on electricity before the gasoline engine starts.
Kawasaki says it’s still trying to figure out batteries, but noted the company’s ongoing research into an evolutionary Gigacell nickel metal hydride technology that it is currently studying on public transport vehicles in Japan, including a light rail electric vehicle in Sapporo.
Like the electric drive technology introduced last year, Kawasaki claims that the hybrid motorcycle project is still in its early stages, so we shouldn’t expect to see a finished product in the immediate future.
Kawasaki also referred to its ongoing work on artificial intelligence, in the form of a voice-activated digital assistant like Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa or Google Assistant. Kawasaki is developing a voice-activated system built into the helmet that can respond to voice commands. The AI ââcould, for example, tell a rider how much range a bike has left before needing more fuel or look up weather and traffic conditions along a route.
The demo video also shows a course playback mode displaying course data with an animated 3D model. Kawasaki says its AI project is already being tested with selected riders field-testing the system in Japan.
Kawasaki also showed a side-by-side Mule demonstration with an autonomous driving system. Kawasaki sees potential in an autonomous mule for commercial applications as well as emergency services.
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