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Sep 26, 2018,  by Allianz Partners Business Insights

Driverless motorbikes: BMW working on an autonomous model

Plenty of constructors are currently developing driverless cars, including BMW who are also working on a smart motorbike which can more or less function without a driver. It is an improved version of the R 1200 GS which can start up, accelerate and slow down on its own. It is not destined for mass production however, but rather will be a future development platform for bike safety.       

After the Yamaha Motobot – a racing motorbike steered by a robot which reached speeds of over 200 kph out on the track – we now have BMW unveiling a driverless motorbike at the latest BMW Motorrad Techday, which was held at the Miramas test track in the south of France. The customised R 1200 GS demonstrated that it was capable of starting up, accelerating, slowing down and stopping without outside assistance. The Bavaria-based constructor is not looking to have driverless motorbikes on the road however, with the prototype destined first and foremost to improve safety and comfort for bikers, according to BFMTV.


Improving safety and comfort for bikers


The BMW prototype is the result of two years of research and is to be used as a platform "for the development of future systems and functions to make riding two-wheelers safer and more comfortable and to increase driving pleasure," said Stefan Hans, the engineer whose team developed  this robot-aided motorbike, in an interview with Les Numériques.

The experiments carried out with the R 1200 GS are set to boost the manufacturer’s database with regard to driving dynamics, with the aim being to help detect dangerous situations and provide the right safety systems for each context, depending on whether the driver is cornering, coming to an intersection or having to make an emergency stop.


Future driver aids for cars


According to the Les Numériques website, BMW Motorrad and Bosch may work together to develop a gas propulsion system on the lower part of the motorbike on each side, enabling the bike to maintain its trajectory should it start to slide. 

BMW bikers will also soon have the benefit of active cruise control (ACC), collision alert and a blind spot information system (BLIS).


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