Self-balancing motorcycle: how does it work?


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Besides the primary goal of going electric, achieving autonomy to eliminate human intervention from processes is the next target that manufacturers are aiming for. We already have cars that can drive on their own and the technology is only getting better as you read this. For a machine as personal as a motorcycle, imagining that they would develop technology to create a balance between two wheels and even ride alone was almost impossible. However, the self-balancing motorcycle is now a reality. And no, we’re not talking about three-wheeled examples like the Niken.

Now, if you consider machines of conventional design, there are three manufacturers who have made substantial progress in this area – Honda, Yamaha and BMW Motorrad. Among these, Honda’s Riding Assist technology and the Yamaha Motoroid can move unmanned and also balance on their own, even when stationary. On the flip side, BMW’s technology can roll the bike on its own once it gains momentum, however, a side stand needs to be deployed when it is not moving. Let’s dig deeper to understand how technology works.

Honda driving assistance

Unlike other examples, Honda’s Riding Assist technology does not use a gyroscope to balance the bike itself. Instead, it relies on a variable tilt angle of the front wheel and a motor to keep the handlebars balanced. The concept works so that the wheelbase expands to achieve a positive rake angle when the motorcycle is moving at a relatively faster speed, while a negative angle tightens the wheelbase so that the motorcycle is moving at low speed and tackles tight turns.

Yamaha Motoroid

The Yamaha Motoroid is like your lover who recognizes the rider’s face and runs towards him. The best part? He even listens. The frame of the bike swings out of the side stand and once the rider makes a move, they move forward. The main technologies used here are an image recognition AI system to recognize the rider’s face and gestures, Yamaha’s “Active Mass Center Control System” self-balancing technology and a haptic human-machine interface.

BMW R 1200 GS autonomous

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Where the aforementioned bikes can only ride on their own, the R 1200 GS self-sufficient and ride at a suitable speed. Developed by engineer Stefan Hans and his team, the BMW starts, accelerates, circumvents a test track and slows down to a stop, all on its own.

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About Todd Wurtsbach

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