A self-riding motorcycle goes against the whole Easy Rider spirit, but BMW says autonomous features will make biking safer. Picture: SUPPLIED
A self-riding motorcycle goes against the whole Easy Rider spirit, but BMW says autonomous features will make biking safer. Picture: SUPPLIED

BMW Motorrad has built a self-riding prototype of its bestselling GS 1200.

Presented at last week’s BMW Motorrad Techday at the BMW Group testing ground in Miramas, southern France, the motorcycle independently rides off, accelerates, circles a winding test track and independently slows down to a stop. 

What possible use could there be for an autonomous motorcycle, you ask? Doesn’t it counter the whole joy-of-riding vibe of two-wheelers in the best Easy Rider tradition?

Fear not, says BMW Motorrad, which reckons it is by no means aiming for an independent motorbike.

"Rather, the underlying technology should serve as a platform for development of future systems and functions to make motorcycling even safer, more comfortable and increase the riding pleasure," says a company spokesperson.

The aim of the prototype is to test how motorcycle safety systems can be improved to detect dangerous situations and potentially help the rider to avoid accidents.

Like the driver aids of semi-autonomous cars, the bike could employ steering and braking interventions, while turning at intersections or when braking suddenly, for example.

For maximum effectiveness these onboard safety systems would employ V2X (vehicle-to-everything) technology that would give the motorcycle digital "eyes" on its surroundings. In a future all-connected V2X world the vision is for all road users — motorised vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians — to communicate with one another through digital networking and thus be able to detect, and hopefully avoid, each other.

BMW Self Riding Motorcycle – BMW Autonomous Driving Bike / BMW Self Riding Bike | BMW R 1200 GS