BMW has released a wild line of future concept vehicles that explores how driving will evolve in the next 100 years. To mark its centenary year, BMW has revealed the final concept vehicle and this time it’s a motorcycle.
One of the innovative features of the BMW Motorrad Vision Next 100, which was unveiled in Santa Monica, California, is that it can’t fall over. The zero emissions bike (BMW doesn't say if it's electric) is intended to preview how two-wheeled transportation might look in the next 30 or so years, offering what BMW describes as "an analogue experience in a digital age".
Unlike a conventional motorbike, the Vision Next 100 doesn’t use suspension (damping is taken care of by the tyres), but instead mounts the wheels and frame as one "Flex-frame" unit. Move the handlebar, therefore, and it’s not the front wheel that turns, but the entire frame. In addition, there is a stabilization system to ensure that it never topples over, although BMW doesn't explain how this works, but we understand giroscopic sensors, much like you’ll find in a Segway, keeps it standing to attention on two wheels automatically balancing the motorbike if it detects a topple is imminent. Although, presumably, the rider can still fall off and watch their bike ride happily into the sunset.
Will motorcyclists need to wear helmets in the future? BMW thinks not. The safety message with the bike is somewhat contradictory: it uses technology to ensure it can predict hazards in the road ahead, but doesn’t require its rider to wear a helmet. Instead, they wear a visor that projects information such as satnav instructions into the rider’s line of sight, divided into four display zones. If the rider looks up, meanwhile, the visor displays a projection of the rear-view camera, allowing them to see what's happening behind.
In addition to the advantage of making it more difficult to fall off the bike, the stabilization technology also means it doesn't require a stand when parked, just hop off and the bike remains upright, so long as it’s switched on. However, BMW says it'll be more than a decade until such technology is available to buy.