BMW’s autonomous R 1200 GS motorcycle is a safety equipment testbed

BMW’s autonomous R 1200 GS motorcycle is a safety equipment testbed

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. I often wonder why with all the tech out there today, no one has shoehorned autonomy into a classic Bug.

Last week, in front of a group of journalists, BMW demonstrated the capabilities of the autonomous BMW R 1200 GS on track at Miramas.

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.

This week BMW Motorrad - the motorcycle division of the German auto company - showed a prototype driverless bike on a test track accelerating, navigating curves, and braking all on its own.

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It's odd to watch a riderless cycle, though if you've seen enough bike races it might not be that unusual. Contrary to what you think, the system still wants the rider to be in control of the bike, while the safety system will merely act parallel to it. But that was basically a robot riding a bike. So this tech would give bikes the ability to help the driver avoid risky situations in the same way autonomous safety systems in cars do.

As BMW R1200GS is the total self driving motorcycle so it is highly focused on safety.

BMW also anticipates the adoption of V2V (vehicle to vehicle) communication - where computers talk to each other, and potentially infrastucture like traffic lights - to avoid collisions and keep motorcycle riders safe among heavy traffic.

The autonomous technology allows the motorcycle to take off from a dead stop, negotiate turns and curves, and then stop again all without any human assistance.

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