BMW unveils smart ‘self-adjusting’ motorcycle concept
Wed 12 Oct 2016
BMW has showcased its concept for a smart, semi-autonomous motorcycle as the future of its Motorrad biking brand. The bike, which forms part of the auto-maker’s Vision Next 100 project, is built with a single ‘flexframe’ design meaning that it can actively adjust and self-balance during direction changes and enable higher rigidity at top speeds.
The self-balancing frame keeps the bike upright not only in motion but also when stationary. When the motorcycle is resting, the unit stays small and lengthens as the bike begins to move – enhancing aerodynamics and protecting the rider at high speeds.
The bike, which was previewed at the German firm’s centenary celebrations in California, is also fitted with prediction technology to anticipate obstacles and alert the driver when a specific action is needed. BMW suggests that this development would result in greater rider protection, eliminating the need for helmets and other protective gear.
The motorcycle, which is suited for both novice and experienced users, also continuously adjusts to the riding style of the driver.
‘The BMW Motorrad VISION NEXT 100 embodies the BMW Group’s vision of biking in a connected world – an analogue experience in a digital age. Motorcycling is about escaping from the everyday: the moment you straddle your bike, you are absolutely free,’ said BMW Motorrad’s head of design Edgar Heinrich.
A main feature of the prototype bike is its artificial intelligence (AI) assistant, which provides real-time support and information on road conditions. The data is delivered to the rider via a smart eye-controlled visor headset. For safety reasons, the feedback data is only projected onto the glass on the rider’s request or if a specific alert needs to be delivered.
‘A key point…was to make sure the constant digital presence doesn’t undermine the analogue riding experience. The display and operating concept works so subtly that the rider can enjoy an entirely natural biking experience, trusting the bike completely and enjoying complete freedom and ease. As interface designers, our job is to deliver the right amount of the right information at the best possible time and place,’ noted BMW’s head of user experience Holger Hampf.
As with the other BMW Vision Next concept vehicles, the Motorrad design is extremely speculative with the company offering next to no details on bringing the vehicle into production. However, the automaker did suggest that the concept was a ‘coherent future scenario’ for its biking brand.