Create a free Industrial Equipment News account to continue

BMW's ‘Ghost Rider’ Motorcycle Tech

How a driverless motorcycle project could dramatically improve rider safety and bike sales.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, those operating motorcycles died at a rate 28 times higher than someone driving a car in 2016. Facing a consistent decline in new riders, bike makers have added a number of new technologies focused on making motorcycles safer and easier to handle.

However, BMW’s ConnectedRide project boldly goes where no man has gone before. 

The video is kind of wild, but it shows how the company’s use of dynamic controls enabled an R1200 GS to start, accelerate, turn and stop without a driver. The company has been very clear that this prototype is just that. BMW has no plans of making an autonomous motorcycle commercially available. 

The company is, however, interested in advancing these types of system to make their bikes safer to drive. This means lean-sensitive ABS braking and advanced traction control to help prevent riders from losing control and laying the bike down. 

These systems, as well as emergency braking, lane assistance and collision avoidance systems similar to those used in automobiles, could also help the bike react to inattentive drivers, even if the driver does not. 

In addition to the self-propelled operation, BMW is working on a number of other new motorcycle safety technologies that continue to make riding safer. This includes brighter, luminous motorcycle headlights and a lighter, 3D-printed frame.

More in Product Development