BMW’s futuristic smart motorbike does away with helmet and protective gear
Image credit: BMW
Luxury car-maker BMW has unveiled a concept motorcycle for the future connected world that automatically maintains upright position and foresees problems on the road.
The BMW Motorrad Vision Next 100 has been unveiled during an event in Los Angeles celebrating the car-maker’s 100th anniversary.
“The BMW Motorrad VISION NEXT 100 embodies the BMW Group’s vision of biking in a connected world – an analogue experience in a digital age,” said Edgar Heinrich, head of design at BMW Motorrad.
The zero-emission motorcycle features a sleek flexible frame without moving parts. The BMW designers said they wanted to pay homage to historical BMW vehicles including its first ever motorcycle – the R32 made in 1923 – but also to look into the future. The frame therefore has a shape of a black triangle but with no bearings and joints.
The solution, BMW said, enhances ergonomics and protects the rider from wind and weather.
As the frame features no joints turning the handlebars adjusts the entire frame.
The bike’s active assistance system balances the motorcycle whether it’s moving or stationary and prevents it from falling.
This technology, together with the vehicle’s constant access to data, which the designers envision will be a key feature of all transport solutions a few decades from now, provides unprecedented levels of safety, which allows the rider to ditch a helmet and protective gear.
“The bike has the full range of connected data from its surroundings and a set of intelligent systems working in the background, so it knows exactly what lies ahead,” explained Holger Hampf, head of user experience at the BMW Group.
“By collating the data it has gathered, it can suggest ideal lines and banking angles, or warn riders of hazards ahead.”
The rider has access to the information via an intelligent visor covering the entire field of vision. The rider can control what information will be displayed simply by his or her eye movements. Information is only projected onto the visor on request, or to alert the rider to the fact that action is needed.
“Normally, when we develop a motorcycle, we tend to think 5 to 10 years in advance,” said Heinrich. “On this occasion, we looked much further ahead and found the experience especially exciting.”
It is surprising, though, that this futuristic vehicle, designed for the digitalised completely interconnected world, is not driverless. BMW believes that riding a motorcycle will remain a unique experience, having a specific driving appeal, so doesn’t see the technology’s future going the autonomous way.
BMW also designed some fashionable gear for the driver. Its only safety feature is an inflatable neck support that improves comfort. The gear constantly measures the wearer’s pulse and body temperature and adjusts the level of heating or cooling for maximum comfort. The suit also delivers navigation instructions via vibrating elements in the arms and legs, and alerts the rider when the banking angle is becoming critical.