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Riderless motorcycle attempts to outperform human riders

Published: 19 September 2016

Updated: 19 September 2016

Are we getting a glimpse into the future? A motorbike that needs no human input is here. 

Microengineering French student Eric Unnervik has developed a miniature riderless motorcycle. And no, it's not a toy that is due for release before Christmas. 


The EPFL (École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne) student's prototype represents his hopes to one day create a completely self-ridden motorcycle which can outperform a human rider. 

The self-ridden mini bike can reach upto an impressive 40mph speed, but fails to stay upright once it stops. Watch the clip below to see how it works (don't forget to include subtitles):

“Motorcycles fall as soon as they stop,” says Unnervik. “They must always maintain speed, and the only way to stabilise them is to use the steering angle, which is controlled by a servomotor.”

The tiny machine is fitted with an actual computer - the size of credit card - called the Raspberry Pi, and sensors which measure the motorcycle’s angle and speed.

And just like any new futuristic gadget this to can be operated by a smart phone or remote-control device. The computer merely ensures the motorcycle stays upright while moving. 

While this motorcycle still needs a little help from its operator, the Automatic Control Laboratory, Eric adds: “Our goal is that, in a race between an autonomous motorcycle and one ridden by a human, our machine wins.”

The idea of the future is an exciting concept, but who wants a motorbike you can't ride yourself? It doesn't seem like much fun to us, Sorry Eric.


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