When you think about autonomous vehicles, your mind might immediately drift to cars and vans from companies like Waymo, which have racked up eight million cumulative miles. What your mind doesn’t go to is an autonomous motorcycle, yet that is exactly what BMW Motorrad engineers have whipped up. This autonomous motorcycle is a BMW Motorrad GS R1200 adventure bike, and its panniers aren't filled with riding gear and clothing; rather they are filled with all sorts of tech allowing this bike to start from a stop, ride around corners and curves, and stop again without a human sitting atop the bike.
This BMW project is meant to help the company invent safety technology that will make motorcycling safer for riders of the future. The bike is called ConnectedRide, and researchers are using the testbed to develop tech that could help riders of the future operate their bikes more smoothly and help riders avoid obstacles and prevent riders from drifting out of their lanes.
The tech will also further the development of systems that will help riders to maintain control in emergency braking situations and help negotiate tight turns and intersections safely and smoothly. This same sort of technology is in cars already with features like lane-keeping assistance, autonomous braking, and all manner of frontal impact avoidance tech that is common on vehicles today from a myriad of manufacturers. This tech keeps drivers from having accidents every day.
BMW Motorrad offers no insight on when the tech it is developing using the self-riding motorcycle might make its way into mainstream bikes. BMW is mum on exactly what tech is integrated into the bike to allow it to operate autonomously.