Autonomous Motorcycles and Vehicles – The Future
Globally the market for autonomous vehicles is growing fast. Autonomy is already commonplace in Mining, Agriculture, Container and Materials Handling Industries – and is a hot topic in Defence.
People are becoming more used to driverless transportation – with Automatic People Movers and Pods, like those at Heathrow T5, commonplace at airports, Uber and others trialling autonomous taxis.
Terminal 5 Pod System. Image © Ultra Global Ltd
The Big Players
All major car companies have autonomous driving development programs underway, many promising to provide levels of autonomy in production vehicles within the next 3 to 8 years. Some, such as Tesla, are even trialling autonomous features, unsupervised, in the hands of their customers, on public roads. Others are racing to provide autonomous freight and passenger transportation vehicles.
The Reasons Behind This Rapid Growth Are Two-Fold:
Firstly, the base enabling technology has come of age – computers, cameras, data storage, communications, machine learning and artificial intelligence etc. This makes it both feasible and affordable.
Secondly, the applications and business cases for them have become clear: for cars road safety and driver convenience are king. The global cost of human error-caused road accidents is so high that it easily justifies the investment needed to beat the problem; worldwide 300 people are killed every day on the roads. Imagine the outcry if a 300-seat airliner crashed every day!
And for drivers, on ever more congested roads, the desire to focus on something other than driving is an ever stronger pull (be it sleep, work, social media or even the beauty on the sidewalk).
For trucks, buses and taxis it’s all about the £s. Eliminating 75kg of ‘unwanted’ human cargo (and more importantly the £25+ per hour it has to be paid) cuts out the biggest chunk of the operating cost – radically reducing transport cost for just about everything.
Safer Roads – Are The Future
Clearly, autonomy in everything else will make them safer. The human, ‘sorry mate I didn’t see you!’ type driver error will be eliminated in vehicles with autonomous capability – their safety systems will protect motorcyclists even when a human is driving them, so that will make the roads safer and better for all, most likely making more people want to ride.
A New Rider Experience For Motorcyclists
Autonomous features on bikes will bring a range of benefits, firstly from Advanced Rider Assistance Systems able to prevent speed vs skill imbalance ‘run off the road’ accidents and intelligently adapt handling to match the conditions (ie. unflappable on the highway but ultra flickable in the canyons), and eventually all the way to bikes that come (or go) when you call them (enabling, for example, an after-work ride home in the sun when it was too wet to ride in the morning) or which operate as riderless taxis on crowded city streets – inherently travelling faster and more efficiently than four-wheelers can manage.
These developments may see an increase in motorcyclists on the road, particularly in the commuter market.
Riderless Taxis – Are The Future
This will happen first in motorcycle-dominated cities, such as Ho Chi Minh, where driverless taxi companies like Uber will rush to find a motorcycle-based alternative.
And, if all that is not enough, adding intelligent control to a motorcycle does something else. Something very exciting. It unlocks the shackles which human rider limitations put upon motorcycle geometry and design. Say hello to the biggest leap in motorcycle evolution in a 100-years. It will be awesome.
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We are looking for engineers, technical scientists, motorcyclists, and partners. If you have the skills and would like to help with this autonomous motorcycle project, in any way, please contact us on +44 (0)7730 090997. We want to talk to you.
Autonomous Riderless Taxis are the transport of the future.
If you want to talk to AutoRD direct about this project please call Torquil on +44 (0)7730 090997
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