BMW Motorrad creates autonomous BMW R 1200 GS

Irving Hamilton
September 14, 2018

Why it matters: Now that the self-driving vehicle industry has begun to mature, carmaker BMW is shifting its sights to one of the most unsafe forms of transportation out there - motorcycles.

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

When one thinks of autonomous driving, one typically thinks about cars. The bike would become able to analyze whether a rider is at risk and, like in a auto, warn or intervene to avoid a crash. This tech keeps drivers from having accidents every day. However, the ability of the bike to drive, turn and lean, without a rider, is simply astonishing. Instead, the technology behind BMW's autonomous bike will be used to as a basis for developing systems and functions to improve motorcycle safety.

Below is a video of the self-driving motorcycle in action. In Munich, safety researchers have been using the autonomous motorcycle to test out features for its real motorcycles to handle risky situations. Motorcycles lack all of the safety mechanisms even cheap full-sized cars have, and no matter how safe they might drive, reckless fellow drivers are far more unsafe to them due to the lack of exterior shielding.

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Although, an entirely autonomous bike could be a pretty cool idea for some of the same reasons that semi-autonomous cars are cool.

Autonomous, or driverless, cars are a concept most of us are familiar with and testing has been taking place on public roads.

Scientists at BMW's motorcycle division in Munich, Germany, have been working for more than two years on a self-driving bike that can start, ride, and stop all on its own.

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