The new bike stays upright with or without a rider on it (AFP Photo/TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA) More Honda on Wednesday showcased a new motorcycle that can stand unaided with or without a rider, using technology the firm learned from developing a walking humanoid. Unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show, Honda's Riding Assist-e is an all-electric concept motorbike that constantly assesses its position and moves the steering bar to ensure the heavy machine stays upright.
For years, international bike manufacturers have experimented with various forms of gyroscopes to stop motorcycles falling over, said Hiroyuki Nakata, the engineer behind the idea. "But if you wanted to keep something as heavy as a motorcycle standing, you need a large and heavy gyroscopic device and you need to keep turning it," he told AFP. Honda's device, however, is only the size of a lamp and can be rigged above the front wheel.
With the system turned off, the motorcycle topples over when the rider takes his hands from it. But when it is flipped on, the bike stays stock still as if in a magic show, even when the rider walks away from it. "Our vision is to put this on large motorcycles as well as small ones used for the daily commute," Nakata said. The technology was derived from Honda's ASIMO robot, a two-legged, self-standing humanoid that can jog, dance and converse with people.
Japan is proud of the robot and has shown it off to world leaders, including Canadian leader Justin Trudeau and then-President Barack Obama.See Also: Trials Motorcycle For Sale
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Advertisement - Continue Reading Below Dropping your bike at a stop sign or during a low-speed maneuver is the fear of any new motorcyclist. It's easy enough to keep your bike upright at speed, but sneaking through a parking lot, all that mass is dying to tumble. Honda seems to have the perfect solution, with a new concept bike that can balance itself either during a low-speed crawl or when stopped completely.
Honda Riding Assist was first demonstrated today at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The system is brilliantly simple: When engaged, the system increases the fork angle, lengthening the bike's wheelbase and, apparently, disconnecting the front forks from the handlebars. The system then uses minute steering inputs to keep the bike perfectly balanced, without the use of heavy gyroscopes or other mass-shifting devices.
The concept bike Honda built to demonstrate the tech can even silently propel itself along, following its owner through a hallway like an obedient puppy. Advertisement - Continue Reading Below Honda says the technology was developed as an offshoot of the Uni-Cub, the automaker's nifty self-balancing mobility unicycle concept. At the company's presentation at CES, Honda demonstrated Riding Assist by having a motorcycle slowly wheel itself onstage, following a Uni-Cub.
While Honda hasn't announced any plans to put Riding Assist into production, we wouldn't be surprised to see the technology included in a future Honda motorcycle of some sort. It's not exactly an autonomous, self-driving motorcycle, but it's a step in that direction—and one that, while slightly eerie to watch, would be a huge help to newbie bikers, or anyone who's struggled to squeeze a 900-lb.
Gold Wing out of a packed garage. via Gizmodo