BMW’s Self-Balancing Motorcycle of Tomorrow
“The BMW Motorrad VISION NEXT 100 unites the best of both worlds – digital and analogue – for the ultimate emotional experience: The Great Escape.”
Besides self-balancing wheels, so that a kickstand is needed only when the motorcycle is shut down, the bike has an “electronic safety cage” that interacts with other vehicles and road sensors to help it automatically avoid crashes.
The concept BMW motorcycle is powered by an electric motor rather than a gasoline engine. The electric motor still has the famous shape of BMW’s flat-twin engines with the cylinders sticking out the sides.
The BMW Motorrad Vision Next 100 is erected from a single “flexframe,” a carbon fiber shell that extends from the front to the rear wheel. The designers call its shape a dynamic sweep, and it does away with old fashioned things like bearings and joints.
There are no traditional shock absorbers. The tires smooth the ride all by themselves. They also have a variable tread that adjusts itself to suit different road conditions.
The motorcycle of the future is so safe riders can cruise without helmet — all of the thrills with none of the danger — according to BMW.
Along with the bike, BMW introduced a set of equally ambitious clothes and goggles.
With no helmet needed, the goggles will keep wind, bugs and debris out of the rider’s eyes while also providing all the information the rider needs. The kind of data presented inside the goggles will change based on where the rider looks. When looking straight down the road, no data is presented unless its needed to alert the driver to an emergency.
This is a concept vehicle, so it’s unclear how much of this stuff the bike BMW showed off can actually do. It’s also unclear how long it will be before an actual production model of the motorcycle could do these things.
The suit itself holds no extra padding, since that’s not deemed necessary. It can warm or cool the rider as needed, and supports the rider’s muscles to assist prevent fatigue. Vibrating units in the arms and legs provide feedback for navigation or to alert the rider when the bike is leaning too far.
The bike is the last of the BMW Next 100 concept vehicles being unveiled in bash of BMW’s 100th anniversary. BMW Motorrad is the German luxury automaker’s motorcycle brand.
Many countries command the protective gear and self-balancing technology is still in the developmental stage — if the latest concept vehicle becomes a reality, it likely won’t be before 2030.