Self-driving technology is a huge benefit for people. However, when we normally talk about self-driving technology, we are talking about cars and trucks and it is harder to imagine autonomous scooters. AB Dynamics is making just those and is doing so to improve the safety of driverless cars.
Motorcycles are undoubtedly the most unpredictable vehicles on the road and pose a challenge for autonomous cars. They can do all sorts of things that could very easily confuse the algorithm of an autonomous vehicle. Their unpredictability is enough to confuse the humans at times so we can expect it from cars.
In order to expose autonomous vehicles to realistic conditions without putting the human riders at risk, AB Dynamics is making the autonomous scooters. The bike itself is a BMW C1 scooter. It was chosen for its automatic transmission, ABS system, and rain-busting roof structure.
It is fitted with an onboard robot controller, multiple sensors, radio control software, and GPS to allow preplanned movements using the autonomous vehicle software. The team is using this to run risk-free and repeatable experiments that will further develop the technology.
“Future legislation and vehicle safety testing could require ADAS systems and autonomous vehicles to be validated in increasingly complex scenarios and the riderless motorcycle is a useful tool for achieving this,” says AB’s Dr. Richard Simpson, senior systems engineer. “It could also have applications in motorcycle durability testing by removing the human rider from some of the more arduous tests over rough surfaces, such as pave, where cars already use robot drivers to eliminate driver fatigue.”
Even though these experiments don’t mean that we will be seeing the autonomous scooters on the roads soon, they bring good news for the biker population in general. More autonomous cars is good news for the bikers as they will have a generous nature to avoid risks that will allow the bikers to move more freely in the traffic.
You can check out the experiments in the video below: