Two-Wheeled Concept Bike Attempts To Prove Viability Of Autonomous Motorcycles
The answer is Cyclotron; a concept vehicle that seems to promise a lot, but for the most part works with existing technology and thus isn’t as far-fetched as it might seem at first. First off, it is designed as an all-electric vehicle, which is nothing new. Second, it will use a pair of gyroscopes to stabilize itself, more old technology at its core.
Lit Motors out of San Fransico, California has demonstrated the viability of the dual-gyro system on its C1; a driver-controlled, self-balancing motorcycle-like vehicle. The proposed wireless energy-transfer system that can automatically buy and sell power from and to other vehicles sounds nice on paper, and it effectively turns all the vehicles into part of the power grid which is cool, but it worries my nerves thinking about that kind of energy penetrating my body and brain tissues. Of course, the wildest part is the automated, self-driving feature that allows for hands-free commutes, but that too is a developing technology that has recently shown some real-world success with at least one owner claiming the car saved his life by driving him to the hospital after a medical event.
Continue reading for more on the Cyclotron.
Concept pieces can be fun. Sometimes that’s because it might just work, and who doesn’t love something new under the sun? Unfortunately, sometimes the fun is actually at the designers expense. I started researching this project thinking that this might be one of the latter, until I noticed it was none other than Charles Bombardier running the project with help from freelance industrial designer Ashish Thulkar. Charles is of that Bombardier family (BRP — Bombardier Recreational Products — the folks that bring you Can-Am, Ski-Doo, Sea-Doo, Evinrude and more) and Ashish works from the Indian Institute of Science.
Like the idea of self-stabilization, but I shudder to think how much power it burns up. The C1 gyros put out 266 pound-feet of torque each, and if the Cyclotron is anything in that neighborhood we are talking some serious juice to keep it upright, and that’s before the first Watt gets spent on propulsion. Personally, I don’t trust machines to do a better job of getting me there alive than I can do myself, but I realize that the push is on for automated vehicles. Maybe digital natives will be more comfortable riding in such a fandangled contraption. I suppose the best part is that it demonstrates what is practicable with existing technologies and hints at the possibilities just over the horizon.