Autonomous Two-wheeler Future In India
Article by Drivio | 17th Apr 23
If programmed well, self-driving bikes could make the roads a lot safer.
- Honda has plans to make semi-autonomous motorcycles
- Such bikes have their own set of challenges in India though.
- India could soon see these bikes in the logistics sector though.
Self-driving bikes, also known as autonomous vehicles or driverless bikes, are an exciting and rapidly evolving field. These vehicles have the potential to significantly improve safety, reduce traffic congestion, and increase mobility for those who cannot drive. However, the future of self-driving bikes in India is fraught with both difficulties and opportunities.
How Do Self-driving Bikes Work?
Companies typically have a slew of patents on radar systems, which give a steering-control system that works in tandem with automatic braking and acceleration to allow motorcycles to balance themselves at low speeds without the assistance of a rider.
Are There Any Such Bikes On Sale In India?
Self-driving cars are the latest trend among automakers. However, their two-wheeled equivalents have shown little desire in becoming self-driving. The Honda 'riding assist' technology and the Yamaha Motoroid have been the only two self-riding concepts demonstrated by major two-wheeler makers. Manufacturers, on the other hand, have recently focused on making their products safer.
Ducati and KTM demonstrated a radar- and sensor-based system for alerting riders to blind zones, as well as using the same technology for adaptive cruise control. With its innovative idea, BMW Motorrad has taken autonomous riding a step further.
BMW’s Self-riding Motorcycle Concept
The new concept, dubbed the ConnectedRide self-driving motorcycle, is based on the BMW R 1200 GS and, according to the German manufacturer, it is a test bed for boosting rider safety. According to BMW, the autonomous bike was created to assist engineers in efficiently integrating safety features with a human rider. It nevertheless wants the rider to be in control of the motorcycle and claims that depending on the emergency situation, the safety system will warn, inform, or interfere immediately.
Understandably, BMW hasn't provided much information about how the autonomous technology works. However, it appears that the autonomous BMW R 1200 GS includes a steering actuator motor, with a sensor handling clutch, throttle, and gear inputs. We do know that there are no fancy sensors or adaptive steering heads to help the motorcycle balance.
The BMW system takes a simpler approach, attempting to replicate how a human rider balances a bike. It's a strange sight to see a motorcycle balance itself and ride around a corner on its own, and the party trick is the side stand, which deploys automatically when the machine comes to a stop.
Honda’s Self-driving Technology
We've all seen the wacky footage of trial riders furiously moving the handlebar left and right in an attempt to keep the bike upright while stopped, and that's exactly what Honda is looking for here. When the bike moves forward or backward, a sensor detects whether the bike is tilted more to the left or right and counterbalances that motion with micro inputs in the opposite direction.
This will be especially beneficial for pulling or moving a large, heavy bike, such as the Gold Wing. The patent filings depict a steering servo positioned on the girder fork of the bike, which may turn the fork (and thus the handlebar) in either direction based on the command provided by the on-board computer.
This command will use the IMU (Inertial Measurement Unit) to calculate the bike's lean angle and speed, which will then be sent to the steering servo. While the patent application photos depict this technology on a GoldWing, it might also end up on an adventure bike like the Africa Twin.
A motorbike with radar, cameras, GPS, a V2V communication system, and LiDar is depicted in a recent patent filing. The system can construct a 3D representation of the bike's surroundings, track objects, and deliver a 360-degree perspective thanks to these.
There isn't much information available regarding the technology, such as which Honda bikes might get it first or whether it is near to reaching production models. This is certainly a long-term project, and we can anticipate that the next few years will be spent on additional development. When it makes its way to production bikes, it may debut first on the Gold Wing or Africa Twin.
Yamaha’s Advanced Motorcycle Stabilisation Assist System (AMSAS)
The AMSAS technology is presently being tested on a modified Yamaha R25, but the bikemaker claims it can be used on any existing Yamaha bikes with minor frame and structure changes. The system consists of a drive actuator positioned on the revised front wheel and a steering actuator mounted on the test bike's handlebar.
At speeds of 5kmph or less, both of these work in tandem with a six-axis inertial measurement unit (IMU) to reduce instability. In a nutshell, this allows the rider to maintain control of the bike at lower speeds without having to place their feet on the ground. Furthermore, the technology works as advertised, with the bike maintaining its line and speed even when the rider's hands are removed from the handlebar.
To summarise, while driverless bikes are still in the extremely early stages of development in India, they have the potential to significantly alter the way we think about transportation. That said, India will need some sweeping changes in its infrastructure and policies to make this happen any time in the near future.