Cars that drive themselves. Hybrid vehicles so fast, they leave convertibles in the dust. The future of transport is coming, and it’s looking pretty awesome.
Opening up even more exciting possibilities, BMW has just revealed its Motorrad Vision Next 100 concept motorcycle, a zero-emission bike with a flexible frame that’s loaded with mechanics to keep it standing upright, no matter how many wheelies you try to pull.
The Vision Next 100 motorcycle was revealed in Los Angeles on Tuesday, along with other concept vehicles that BMW imagines will be the face of transportation in thirty years, reports Fox News. This concept bike is a total reworking of what a motorcycle is and what it could be. BMW’s futuristic ride comes with all kinds of wild features, and incorporates elements of automation and loads of tech to increase safety. Part of this is a mix of active self-balancing and traction and stability aids that ensure the bike will never fall over. Another nifty change is the flexible frame, which warps as the driver steers it, changing its shape when the handlebars are turned. This is a flashy and unusual move, as motorbike designers tend to avoid making frames flexible. There are also no joints or bearings in the steering, nor in the suspension- instead, the tires function as the bike’s suspension.
And with a bike that never tips over and avoids crashing, why wear a helmet or armor? Unavoidable accidents aside, BMW deems these items unnecessary, and designed a suit and visor for the rider to wear instead. The sleek suit will ensure the driver looks and feels cool or hot, as needed. Meanwhile, the visor will track his or her eye movements and provide interactive driver assistance, and information about the route and the bike.
This is all pretty cool, and aside from the lack of helmet, additional safety measures may not be a bad thing for motorcyclists, who face a much higher chance of being in dangerous or deadly crashes than drivers. BMW considers its no-fall feature as both a training tool and a safety measure, while Fox News points out that these capabilities essentially qualify the Vision Next 100 as an autonomous motorcycle.
This bike may just be a futuristic concept for now- but we should not simply write it off as a fun design exercise. Like other German brands, BMW will soon be working under a legal system that will prohibit the sale of new vehicles with combustion engines, which means that the company will be forced into a truly creative design phase. Who knows what their engineers will come up with? Still, self-driving motorcycles are probably a ways off, given that most riders love the freedom and total control of traditional motorcycles. It’s probably cheating if your bike controls your skid, right?