Honda’s new bike uses robotics to balance itself
Honda has unveiled an impressive self-aligning motorcycle at CES 2017, using what it calls Riding Assist technology.
The new tech is designed to make it easier for riders to keep the bike upright, particularly at slower speeds or traffic stops, when heavier cruisers may become unwieldy.
Instead of gyroscopes, which tend to add substantial weight to the vehicle, Honda’s Riding Assist prototype uses technology borrowed from the company’s UNI-CUB robotic mobility system. The system works so well that Honda researchers were also able to demonstrate it moving without a motorist, apparently driving itself.
As well as keeping bikes from falling over, the technology hints at the potential for two-wheeled autonomous vehicles to zip around without humans on their backs. Your very own pet motorcycle – imagine.
Honda isn’t the first company to invest in self-aligning technology for motorcycles. Last October BMW unveiled the Motorrad Vision Next 100 concept bike, which has gyroscopic elements to ensure it never falls over. Yamaha has also previously shown off a rather strange looking self-driving humanoid-robot-motorbike creation, which it wants to be able to reach speeds of 124mph.
If you’re worried that the emphasis on balance will undercut the Honda bike’s riding ability, fear not. Honda’s Riding Assist model can switch between balance mode and regular riding mode, by extending the forks that connect the front wheel away from vehicle’s body. It looks suitably futuristic and, as you can see from the promo video, makes it much easier to pretend to be a starfish on the back of your bike, if that’s your type of thing.