BMW has revealed an autonomous motorbike as part of a technology showcase that the German manufacturer says previews the future of motorcycle design.
Last week, a specially adapted R 1200 GS was seen making its first rounds, as if by magic, at the BMW Group’s testing ground in Miramas, southern France. The demonstration formed part of the BMW Motorrad Techday 2018.
Developed by graduate engineer Stefan Hans and his team, the motorbike independently drives off, accelerates, circles a winding test track and independently slows down to a stop (see our video report below).
However, BMW says a fully self-driving motorcycle that is also road-legal is, as yet, a very long way off.
“BMW Motorrad, as a driver for technical innovations in the field of motorcycling, is by no means aiming for a completely independent motorbike. Rather, the underlying technology should serve as a platform for development of future systems and functions to make motorcycling even safer, more comfortable and increase the riding pleasure,” explain the Bavarian company’s engineers.
In addition to the autonomous two-wheeler, the company presented a number of other new technology projects at last week’s event in France, one of which included a motorcycle frame manufactured completely using a 3D printing process, including a rear swinging arm (video below).
The manufacturing process has already made its way into series production over at the company’s car division, for example, to create parts for the new i8 Roadster.
“The advantage of 3D printing lies in the complete freedom of designing components that could not be produced in other ways,” say BMW Motorrad engineers.
Earlier in April this year, BMW also announced plans to establish a new €10 million 3D printing hub near Munich.