BMW unveils its first smart motorcycle

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It’s unnerving to watch a motorcycle drive itself around a track, lean into corners and even deploy its own kickstand.

That’s exactly what BMW has created. As demonstrated in a recent video, this prototype motorcycle can drive itself without falling over and looks convincing as it leans around each corner on the test circuit.

The vehicle is the result of two years of development and “hundreds of hours” of testing, BMW said.

However, BMW also said that the vehicle is not intended to pave the way for fully autonomous motorcycles — something that consumers are unlikely to want. Instead, the bike is part of BMW’s development of advanced rider assistance systems.

The underlying technology here should “serve as a platform for development of future systems and functions to make motorcycling even safer, more comfortable and increase the riding pleasure,” BMW said.

“The aim of the prototype is to gather additional knowledge with regards to driving dynamics in order to detect dangerous situations early on, and thus support the driver with appropriate safety systems while turning at intersections or when braking suddenly, for example,” the company added.

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

Given that motorcycle riders are far more likely to be injured or killed in an accident, improving their safety is a worthy cause for BMW to dedicate resources to. However, there will be challenges on the road ahead. For example, while a car’s autonomous safety system can hit the brakes without injuring the driver (assuming that they are wearing a seat belt), the same cannot be guaranteed for motorcycle riders.

It will be interesting to see how BMW tackles these and other rider safety issues. (Interested in autonomous vehicles? You’ll want to read our stories about how fear of autonomous cars is growing among US adults and that they may pose a threat to road congestion.)

This article originally appeared on GearBrain and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.

Featured Image Credit: BMW.

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