BMW isn’t just hard at work ensuring that it will be able to bring self-driving cars to the marketplace; it’s also developing autonomous technology for motorcycles. BMW recently unveiled an autonomous motorcycle concept based on its R 1200 GS that it intends to use to test rider-assistance technologies that would be implemented in future products.
“We want to teach the motorcycle how to ride a bike,” BMW Motorrad engineer Stefan Hans told NBC News in September. Hans specified that while technologies like anti-lock braking systems and traction control are useful for today’s rider, they are inherently limited because they require quick action that can lead to instability.
“In my opinion, future systems should be able to look ahead a few seconds and inform, warn or intervene before the situation becomes dangerous,” Hans added.
BMW tested out its self-driving R 1200 GS in Miramas in early September, demonstrating its ability to accelerate and brake entirely on its own. The motorcycle utilizes actuators that handle the duties of steering, throttle, clutch, gears and brakes; there are no systems in place to detect objects or hazards in the road, which is why the motorcycle is strictly limited to track testing.
While the autonomous version likely won’t make the market any time soon, the 2018 BMW R 1200 GS represents the most current evolution of the bike that started the dual-sport motorcycle segment. The R 1200 GS features Rain and Road riding modes that provide better grip in different situations, as well as Ride Modes Pro, which includes Enduro and Dynamic modes that optimize performance. Other technologies offered on the 2018 R 1200 GS include Hill Start Control, Dynamic Traction Control, Automatic Stability Control and Dynamic ESA.
This article is presented by New Century BMW Motorcycles in Alhambra, California.